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Not-So-Sweet: Is Another FDA Label Change Heading Food Manufacturers’ Way?

By BLUE Software

The American Medical Association (AMA) recently urged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make a label change to high-sugar foods.  Specifically, the association has asked the FDA to create front-of-package warning labels for foods high in added sugars.  Stated Albert J. Osbahr, III, M.D., member of the AMA Board of Trustees, “When consumers have access to the amount of sugar they are consuming, they may choose foods with less sugar,” and this can “help prevent debilitating chronic medical conditions, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease which affect millions of Americans.”

Food manufacturers are already adopting more prominent nutrition fact labeling by 2020, which includes the amount of added sugars, but the AMA’s latest request for a front-of-package warning will require CPG manufacturers to initiate additional changes.

Changing Labels: Not as Easy as it Seems

If you’re responsible for the labels and artwork on food products, chances are high this is not the best news you’ve heard.  Why?  On average, it takes 198 days to make a label change.  Adding a front-of-package warning label to existing packaging isn’t as easy as “add the warning and forward it to the printer.”  To begin, products come in different sizes.  Stroll down the cereal aisle and take a look: 12-ounce boxes, 21-ounce boxes, 12 packs of 1.3-ounce cups, and more!  Adding to the matrix: there are multiple manufacturing sites, cartons, inserts, and other components to consider as well.

There are also a number of people seated at the labeling table, so to speak, from marketing teams responsible for the brand… to regulatory teams responsible for the ingredient lists… to legal teams responsible for claims.  In fact, some of our enterprise clients report a single label may be “touched” as many as 200 times before it gets sent to the printer.

There’s no way around it: to successfully orchestrate a label change, manufacturers require a sophisticated conductor.

Let a Label and Artwork Management Solution Take the Stage

The first step to easily orchestrating label changes is to get organized with a Label and Artwork Management solution.  A good Label and Artwork Management solution will feature powerful Workflow Management tools, allowing manufacturers to track a label update throughout its lifespan.  Each time there’s a label “touch,” the person responsible will receive a real-time alert.  Also, a project’s progress becomes more transparent, allowing manufacturers to catch obstacles early and avoid missed deadlines.

A Label and Artwork Management solution will also decrease the number of label reviews with online collaborative proofing, which allows multiple approvers to simultaneously access a single platform to view and proof the label.  In this platform, approvers can automatically compare the new label to the old without opening an inbox or passing hard copies around the office, and an auditable trail of feedback is created from beginning to end.  Add the power to approve the new label once and then execute approved changes across multiple stock-keeping units (SKUs), and now teams are exponentially productive!

Finally, a good Label and Artwork Management solution will include a Digital Asset Manager for all label assets, which both internal and external team members (agencies, printers, etc.) can quickly access from anywhere through easy-to-use filters, searches, and sorts.

Get Started Today

BLUE Software has developed a comprehensive list of Label and Artwork Management user requirements for CPG manufacturers, including the features highlighted above.  Download our sample requirements document and be more prepared than ever for future regulatory changes.