6 Steps to Leverage the FDA’s Nutrition Facts Panel Update

Smart brands know that the root cause of the nutrition facts panel update is not political. It’s consumer-driven. There’s a groundswell need for greater transparency and education surrounding the food industry. Simply put, consumers are looking to make more informed decisions about the food they buy for their families, says Carol Best, VP of Client Engagement at SGK.

The FDA’s nutrition facts panel update represents a fantastic opportunity to turn a discontinuous market event into competitive advantage, but only for brands that are prepared. The Federal Government estimates that the proposed regulations will impact over 60,000 food manufacturers and 741,000 UPCs. This creates stress on the supply chain, both internally and externally, so it will be critical to identify the right changes to make - and to execute those changes flawlessly.

The good news is that there are actions you can take today that will enable your brand to better manage this regulation change and stand out to consumers. Best shares these six routes to success:

1.    Know what consumers expect from your brand
It all begins with insight. Take time to uncover critical insights about the role of your brand and your category in the life of your consumer. To begin uncovering this insight, use thought starters such as: Does your brand provide basic nourishment or indulgence? Are better-for-you options growing in your category? How do consumers think of your competition regarding health and wellness?

2.    Anticipate changes to serving sizes
Be better prepared by asking “what if” serving sizes changed to reflect consumption. How will consumers likely respond? What current claims would need to change? What education might be required for retailers, shoppers and/or consumers?

3.    Seize competitive advantage
Act boldly. Reformulate an existing product to better align with consumer expectations or needs. Look for ways to repackage existing products in a way that promotes responsible consumption behavior. And finally, innovate to deliver mixes that are better-for-you, have fewer ingredients, tap into how consumers may respond to new visibility about the nutritional value of your category.

4.    Understand your true design equities and assets
What elements on your product packaging are critical to maintain no matter what? On the flip side, what can you afford to change, move or remove? 

5.    Touch packs only once (and think beyond the pack itself)
Be sure to make every touch count. Determine what other design changes should be made while you are touching the label. The outcome is always better when you can coordinate label changes at the same time as any previously planned redesigns. This will keep you from having to design twice in two-year compliance window.

6.    Assemble the right team
Being able to coordinate all the components and stakeholders requires an informed, agile and experienced team. Assemble the right people now so that you can begin planning how to conduct an impact audit, defining processes, assigning task owners, establishing governance and other steps in the process. 

For more expert advice and up-to-date information on how to be ready for the impending label change, visit Label Central.