FoodMinds LLC, Nutrition Impact LLC and EAS Consulting Group LLC have developed Food Label Compass for food and beverage companies, inspired by the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) plans to update its 20-year-old Nutrition Facts label policies “based upon the latest science-based nutrition recommendations.”
According to the consultancies, the new resource offers “a specialized suite of nutrition analysis, regulatory consulting and strategic services to guide food and beverage companies in understanding the impact, complying, communicating, and capitalizing on the new FDA guidelines.”
These “essential services” are in-depth analyses of the food and nutrient content of clients’ brands in relation to the new guidelines, identifying potential changes to the serving-size rules, and assessing the impact of potential changes to Daily Values (DVs) and how nutrition claim criteria may be affected; developing regulatory recommendations and guidance to create labels reflecting the new requirements, validating claim opportunities, answering questions on compliance, and ensuring the information is presented in an approved and consumer-friendly manner; and the development of a strategic road map for the client’s product portfolio and brand messaging to position and plan around new labels that will effectively communicate the new nutrition information.
“From a practical standpoint, we have learned a lot in the past 20 years about the world of food labeling, and how companies should meet regulatory requirements balanced with helping consumers make informed choices,” said Robert C. Post, chief science officer of Chicago-based FoodMinds. “Through our new Food Label Compass, we have effectively packaged a mind-trust of science-based analysis, regulatory counsel, and marketing communications experts to provide clients an edge to successfully navigate and capitalize on this opportunity.”
“While the nutrition label has been an invaluable tool to educate consumers, it is overdue for an update so that it can reflect current science and dietary recommendations,” noted Victor Fulgoni, SVP at Battle Creek, Mich.-based Nutrition Impact. “The trick for food and beverage industry will be how to successfully navigate upcoming changes proactively, and then clearly communicate this new information to their consumers.”
As well as changes to how nutrition label information will be presented, the expected FDA changes will include guidance for claims on labeling, which will present a challenge for the industry. “Understanding where there may be new claim opportunities and what scientific research will be needed to validate them is just one area,” explained Edward A. Steele, chairman and CEO of Alexandria, Va.-based EAS Consulting Group. “Just as important is how to be confident that any proposed new labeling is correct.”
According to the FDA, consumer use of the Nutrition Facts label continues to grow, with the percentage of consumers reporting that they often use the label rising from 44 percent in 2002 to 54 percent in 2008.