In the past, packaging hasn’t been a helpful tool for keeping consumers informed about the ingredients in the food they eat and how it affects their nutrition. But this is about to change with new food labeling regulations.
Since brands will now have to disclose more detailed and pertinent information, why not make package redesign an opportunity to refresh the brand and take better control over brand assets? In the European Union, EU Regulation 1169/2011 establishes a new legal framework for providing food information to consumers. Ratified in September of 2011, with full compliance for most companies required by December 13, 2014, this new food labeling regulation provides approximately 55 pages of rules intended to standardize the presentation of food information and lower the administrative burden of tracking data. And, most important, to ensure consumers have complete, unambiguous, highly legible information about the foods they plan to eat prior to purchase.
According to Stephen Kaufman, Chief Product Officer at BLUE, the most interesting part of the new EU food labeling regulation concerns pre-packaged foods offered for sale by means of distance communications, citing as an example, a candy bar sold through Amazon. The regulation states, “information shall be available before the purchase is concluded,” and “without charging consumers supplementary costs.” This means brands need to coordinate the information printed on the package with information displayed on any number of online retail sites.
New food labeling regulations are coming to the U.S., as well. For example, the Food and Drug Administration announced on February 27 there would be:
- Much more prominent display of information such as serving sizes and calories
- A requirement that serving sizes reflect what people actually eat at a typical sitting, not the smaller amount they “should” be eating
- More prominent display of daily value percentages for nutrients, along with information about what the values mean
- Changes in label information based on new understanding of nutrition science – such as requiring information about added sugars, updating the daily values for certain “nutrients of public health significance,” emphasizing the importance of avoiding certain kinds of fat rather than focusing on total calories from fat, and so on
- All of these possibilities are best addressed early and holistically – not dealt with in isolation from the need to comply with new labeling requirements
It’s worth noting pharmaceutical companies face the same kinds of regulatory challenges – and should also be looking for ways to turn labeling requirements into opportunities to improve brand performance. Both food and pharmaceutical industries can comply with new regulations by employing a centralized system for managing copy, artwork, and digital assets across all of their brand’s manifestations, globally.
Brands need to have a plan in place for managing the many print and digital redesigns required to deal with the new food labeling regulations.
Are you ready?