Let’s educate, not confuse, busy shoppers

Earlier this year FDA announced that it was considering changes to the current Nutrition Facts panel. The label was created 20 years ago and is on most foods and beverages in the United States. It gives us an easy-to-understand way to quickly see what’s in the foods we consume each day. It’s also how you determine that a “serving” of ice cream isn’t the whole pint, but a measly quarter-cup. Tell that to my spoon!

WomanShoppingForCandy

The Nutrition Facts design hasn’t been updated since it launched in 1993, and shoppers are becoming more knowledgeable, and curious, about the ingredients in their foods and beverages. NCA supports educating consumers and ensuring transparency and responsibility in food labeling; check out our front-of-pack labeling gallery on Pinterest to see how candy companies are sharing calorie information, right on the front of the packaging. It’s also important to keep the information accurate and the design clean; ambiguous labeling and confusing information will lead to shopper frustration, and that’s the last thing anyone wants at the grocery store.

For example, the International Food Information Council Foundation conducted a national survey of adult consumers, and preliminary findings indicate that the proposed “added sugars” line on the Nutrition Facts panel leads to misunderstanding. Instead of clarifying the total amount of sugars in a product, the extra “added sugars” line item causes shoppers to believe that the products contain more sugars than they actually do. Also, eight out of 10 consumers preferred the simpler, total sugars line item when shown an example of the redesigned label. The IFIC Foundation shared these preliminary findings to FDA on behalf of consumers.

Current Nutrition Facts panel and the proposed Nutrition Facts panel

Current Nutrition Facts panel and the proposed Nutrition Facts panel

Providing consumers with relevant nutrition information is one of the most important goals for candy makers. Sugars are a source of calories, and of course candy contains sugar, though current scientific evidence doesn’t show a direct connection between total sugar intake and obesity. Candy only makes up 2 percent of calories in the average American’s diet and is only eaten about two or three times a week. Enjoy your candy, but treat right and enjoy it in moderation.