When the Food and Drug Administration proposed a 2020 compliance date for the new Nutrition Facts label last month, some manufacturers breathed a sigh of relief, knowing they had extra time to get their products ready.
The deadline shift, however, made no difference to several manufacturers who have already started updating their nutritional labels. As of last week, there are now 7,265 products in grocery stores that sport the new label format, according to Label Insight.
Dagan Xavier, Label Insight's co-founder and vice president for data, told Food Dive that despite the delayed compliance deadline — the new labels were initially set to appear on most packages from major manufacturers by July 2018 — consumers will be seeing more of them as they shop. Since February 2016, when most of the rules governing the new label were published, Label Insight has seen a 300% growth in products sporting the new format each quarter.
Making the transition includes some complex changes, like recalculating serving sizes, switching to a standardized size for the package, figuring out brand new things such as the amount of added sugars, and taking a new look at dietary fibers.
So why are so many manufacturers working hard to beat the deadline, getting products with the new look on shelves so far before the initial deadline – much less the reset one? Manufacturers and label consultants give the same reason: Transparency.
“It builds trust and that is the key,” Xavier told Food Dive. “When you talk about transparency, transparency is all about trust. And so when we're being realistic, and the industry is given —whether it's a mandate or a kick up the bum to be more realistic — I think that's a good thing for us as consumers and will still be a very good thing for us as an industry.”