The nutrition labels we've grown used to seeing on the backs of food packaging won't look the same for much longer. As Gizmodo reports, the FDA just announced the first major updates to the classic "Nutrition Facts" label in over two decades.
As you can see from the image above, the design hasn't changed too drastically, but several thoughtful tweaks have been made to guide consumers toward making smarter decisions about what they purchase. One of the biggest changes is the new serving size information. Instead of indicating the amount of food people should be eating ideally, it's been changed to reflect more realistic portion sizes. For example, a serving of ice cream is now two-thirds of a cup instead of half a cup, and a serving of soda is 12 ounces instead of eight. Snacks and drinks that come in small packages are no longer allowed to trick consumers with listings for split serving sizes—if they do, nutrition information for the entire individual-sized bag of chips, bottle of soda, etc. must also be included.
Both serving size and calorie count are now set in larger, bold fonts. Vitamin A and C information has been switched out for vitamin D and potassium, which Americans are more likely to be deficient in. Sugar amounts now include added sugars in addition to total sugars, and the recommended daily values for nutrients that were set in the '90s have been updated to represent current standards.
You may not notice the changes unless you look for them, but that doesn't make them insignificant. According to a 2012 survey from the International Food Information Council Foundation, 66 percent of buyers look at the nutrition facts labels of the foods they purchase. You can expect some food manufacturers to make the changes right away, but the final deadline for the updates isn't until July 26, 2018.
All images courtesy of the FDA.