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Part 2/3 - New Nutrition Labels - Larger Multi-Serving Labels

Part 2/3 - New Nutrition Labels - Larger Multi-Serving Labels

Larger Label Footprint Opens Door for Design Upgrades to Existing Packages

As we discussed in the last post, you have until July of either 2018 or 2019 (depending on your company size) to implement the new nutritional label changes that the FDA is mandating. If your company runs like a well-oiled machine, you’re probably thinking, “We’ve got this!” You’re not sweating it because you think your R&D or compliance department is on top of it. Your printer may even be telling your purchasing department that it’s a simple black-plate adjustment they can easily handle. Everyone is breathing easily because the change looks like a cinch. As a brand manager, however, you can’t sit back and let the R&D or compliance folks worry about it. Because if you are, you’re letting an opportunity slip through your fingers.

Update: On June 13, 2017, it was announced that the major upgrade to the nutrition labels on our food has been delayed. Those changes were supposed to happen by July 26, 2018. But on The FDA said it would give companies more time to make the shift. The agency did not give a new deadline.

New Multi-Serving Labeling

But first let’s look at specific changes that will impact many beverages, snacks and the like. First, the FDA is requiring a serving size recalculation, so the serving size is based not on what “people should consume” but on what they actually do. Soda, for example, will have a new serving size of 12 or 20 ounces, depending on the bottle size, instead of 8 ounces. Next, the FDA is adding a requirement for “certain products that are larger than a single serving but that could be consumed in one sitting or multiple sittings.” These are packages that contain two or three servings but could be consumed in “one sitting. For those products, a dual-column is being introduced. One will list calories and nutrients per serving and the other, per package or unit. If you have to make those types of changes — and even if you don’t — this is where that opportunity comes in that we mentioned above.

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image 2a

An Opportunity to Refresh Your Product Packaging

Think about it. Every single SKU will need a new label. As you’re evaluating the impact on your label or package, this is your chance to refresh your packaging and really dial in your existing brand messaging. How often does that occasion arise? You could try out new violators, change the cooking instructions, or add a recipe or illustration to the back panel. Maybe you didn’t consider the power of the back panel when you first launched your product. There are so many ideas that can make a back panel stand out, from photos and recipes to serving tips and enhanced illustrations. You can look at your back panel real estate with new eyes.

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Make the Label Overhaul Work for Your Marketing Strategy!

As you can imagine, this kind of process takes some thinking and time. Which is why we said earlier that you really don’t want to keep this on the back burner — or let the decision rest with R&D. Get started now, especially if you have an extended product line. Give us a call for a free evaluation of your packaging and we’ll review your options. Your best course of action needs to be based on your brand goals as well as reflect your brand messaging in the best light.

Update: On June 13, 2017, it was announced that the major upgrade to the nutrition labels on our food has been delayed. Those changes were supposed to happen by July 26, 2018. The FDA said it would give companies more time to make the shift. The agency did not give a new deadline.


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Part 1/3 - New Nutrition Labels - Start Planning Now

Part 1/3 - New Nutrition Labels - Start Planning Now

Will the New Nutrition Facts Affect The Design of Existing Packaging?

The nutrition label received a makeover last year — which means product and brand managers need to start thinking how that will impact their brands. All conventional and supplemental food manufacturers will need to implement the changes. Even though the FDA has recently extended the deadline to an unknown date, the time to start planning is now.

Update: On June 13, 2017, it was announced that the major upgrade to the nutrition labels on our food has been delayed. Those changes were supposed to happen by July 26, 2018. The FDA said it would give companies more time to make the shift. The agency did not give a new deadline.


Let's Talk About Your Packaging

Will your packaging need design edits?

The simplest and fastest answer is: It depends. The food nutrition label was standardized in 1990 and after specific label requirements were introduced in 1994, the label has received only one major change. This latest upgrade will impact almost every packaged food product, including imported products. According to the FDA, the new nutrition label reflects “new scientific information” and will “make it easier for consumers to make better informed food choices.”

image 1a


How does it translate into a new look?

On the surface, to consumers, the changes are probably subtle. For brands, not so much.

Here are the highlights of some changes:

  • The type size was increased for calories, servings per container and serving size.
  • The calorie count and the serving size are now in bold.
  • The statement of calories from fat is gone.
  • Added sugar has to be included.

More changes are included in the nutrients and daily values sections. For example:

  • The list of nutrients that are required or allowed to be listed was updated. Vitamin D and potassium are in; vitamins A and C are optional.
  • Nutrients have to include not only the percentage of DV but actual amounts, too.
  • The DV footnote is different — a tidier, abbreviated version.  

Various other changes related to the calculation of serving size and percentage of daily values will result in new numbers. From a design perspective, those are small things — and the great news is that for most products the new label should fit into the old footprint. However if your product requires the new Multi-Serving Nutrition Label then you will need a designer to fit the larger nutrition fact panel into the over all design. Read Part 2 to learn more about the larger panels 


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Does that mean you can get away with a simple artwork edit?

Can your printer handle it? Possibly. But you may still need new plates and a new setup, even though you’re just changing a few lines. Prepress is impacted by various factors, such as a panel that’s built with rich black or ingredients that are knocked out of four colors. It may feel like you have plenty of time to figure this out but don’t keep this on the back burner. Consider your options now because this change could open the door to a much bigger opportunity (we’ll dive deeper into this next time).

This is a great time to call us for a review of your product line. We’ll take a look at your packaging for free and evaluate your options. We will recommend a course of action that aligns with your brand goals and delivers optimized results.

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Accidental Branding

 Are you a victim of accidental branding?

Is it possible to be in business for years without ever really branding? Strange as it sounds, the answer is yes. Many entrepreneurs and new business owners go quickly from brand strategy right to brand identity while, completely skipping over this key step. We call this step in the process - distilling a brand. Some call it defining brand essence.

Quite simply, branding is the thoughtful analysis of a brand's core concepts and the strategic planning of how to best express its message.

If you’ve been in business for a while then you’re no stranger to brand strategy. You’ve created your product or service, then you've made it unique and desirable to a consumer audience, while influencing how it should be perceived. Sounds a lot like the first elements of a business plan, right? At its most basic this is positioning, differentiation - and brand. By short-cutting or eliminating the reflective step called branding, the choosing of a logo and brand identity can be a shot in the dark, a best guess or even a Hail Mary pass.

Accidental branding happens all the time, even to seasoned brand managers. Rushing to market, tight start-up budgets, a talented family member, a student design project, a favor from a creative friend, or simply a trust in your own gut instincts are all common reasons for a logo that now doesn't seem to fit your business well. You can blame it on not knowing how your business would evolve or the market taking a left turn. Those are all legitimate reasons for accidental, or unintentional branding.
In some cases an established business may have used an accidental logo for years yet still enjoyed a good share of the market place. The owners of those businesses should be aware that as new competitors enter the market and existing competitors update their brand identity your own image may fall under scrutiny from potential new clients. There is always the risk that by making a choice to not update your brand image, or to put it off, that you may be sending out negative subconscious brand cues.
If you're just beginning to think about a thoughtful brand update, don't worry, it’s just never too late to evolve your brand. Since businesses and the marketplace don’t stand still, you should review your brand every few years. You may even discover that much of what you are doing is on target and that your logo and marketing materials simply need an evolutionary update.  Whatever the outcome, the process will give you reason to pause and reflect on your brand and brand strategy. The bonus is that you’ll take comfort in knowing that your brand identity, and messaging completely - and intentionally - support your business goals.
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