soda cans with nutrition labels
By: Kaytie On: September 14, 2016 In: Translation Comments: 0

After two years, the proposed changes to nutrition labels advocated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will finally come into effect.  These changes will greatly affect serving sizes and labeling of sugars and nutrients and will be the first made since the labels initial introduction in 1994.

Most food and beverage manufacturers have until July 2018 to make the necessary updates, but smaller companies are being allotted an additional year. This means they’ll need updated nutrition label translations, too.

How Will Nutrition Labels Change?

Perhaps the biggest change will be labeling of serving sizes.

Any packaged food or beverage which would reasonably be consumed in one sitting will need to be labeled as one serving.

For example, a 20-ounce juice bottle would no longer be 2.5 8-ounce servings; instead, the calories and percent daily values would need to reflect the entire bottle. Additionally, large packages such as ice cream pints, will feature two columns — one for a single serving size and another depicting the nutritional value of the entire container.

This makes sense, as smaller serving sizes can be misleading and implausible – hardly anyone is eating just a half cup of ice cream. More realistic serving sizes will help people better understand the amount of calories, sugar and nutrients they are taking in.

On top of this, sugar will be broken down into two categories: natural sugar (from fruit and dairy ingredients) and “added” sugar. The added sugar will make it easier for consumers to realize whether or not a food should be considered “junk” food.

Additionally, for those added sugars, the percent daily value (%DV) will need to be clearly listed.

“Calories from fat” will no longer be a part of the nutrition label, since research has shown that the kind of fat in a product (saturated, unsaturated, trans) is more important than the amount.

You may also be missing Vitamin A and C amounts from your nutrition labels, since most people tend to get enough of these and the new law makes them an optional addition. Instead, the FDA is mandating that Vitamin D and potassium amounts be listed, because many Americans are lacking in these nutrients.

Finally, the confusing footnote at the bottom is being amended to give consumers a shorter, simpler explanation of percent daily values.

Why You Should Translate Your Nutrition Label

Clearly, the information on nutrition labels is important. It tells consumers exactly what they are purchasing, and helps them make healthy decisions. Why else would the FDA be going to so much trouble to redesign them?

As for why you should translate this information, the answer is obvious – you want every possible consumer to be able to read your product’s Nutrition Facts. And in the US, Hispanics in particular have an immense amount of buying power.

It pays to market your products in languages that your customers will understand. Translation of nutrition labels and even the rest of your product’s packaging may be the best way to tap another segment of the market.

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