© Russell Curtis / Getty Images

The compliance date set forth by the FDA is Jan. 1, 2020 – yet we’re already seeing brands labeling their products with the new nutritional guides.

Zee Krstic
October 23, 2017

When we found out the Food and Drug Administration was going to require manufacturers to place updated nutrition labels on products, we knew it would be a long time off before we’d see any results. The FDA set the date for adoption of the new nutrition facts label to Jan 1. 2020 last month, a big pushback from the initial deadline of July 26, 2018. 

Even though the original date was pushed back two years, many food manufacturers have already affixed the new labels to their products. 

According to Label Insight, as of mid-October, there’s over 7,200 products in grocery stores with the new nutrition label. Label Insight shared this data with Food Dive, adding that there's been a 300 percent growth of the updated label each quarter, and customers should be seeing even more of the new label before the national 2020 deadline. 

The new nutrition facts label has a changed quite a bit from the version that we’re used to, aside from the fact that the label itself is much bigger: There’s a noticeable change in how serving sizes are measured, and the labels discern things we didn't pay much attention to in the past, like added sugars and added fibers

But, why are some brands jumping the gun on using the new nutrition labels?

Label Insight told Food Dive that it has to do with building trust with consumers – the first brands and producers to make the switch to the new nutritional label appear to be much more transparent than those who do not. Nearly 40 percent of available items with the updated nutritional label are private brand products from the retailers themselves, Food Dive reports.

Some of the major players who have already adopted the label include Hershey’s, Mondelez and its entity Nabisco, PepsiCo, Mars Inc., and KIND. 

Hershey’s was one of the first major producers to relabel their iconic Hershey Kisses with the new label earlier this year. According to the Washington Post, Nabisco has released updated packaging with the new label for Wheat Thins and Triscuits; Pepsi has updated several of the Lay’s, Fritos, and Cheetos chip varieties with the new label; and KIND’s granola products all are labeled with the new system as well.

A senior manager for global operations at Hershey told Food Dive they would be updating more of their products, including Peppermint Patties and Jolly Ranchers, as the year progresses – not necessarily to appear to be more of a healthier choice to consumers, but to show compliance to the industry’s movement to be more transparent.

Credit: 97/Getty

While a lot could change between now and 2020, the fact that many retailers have changed their offerings to reflect the new nutritional label shows promise.