With the FDA's public comment period ended, there could be labeling standard changes coming relatively soon. The FDA proposal is expected to change labeling on sugars as well as portion sizes, likely leading to package design and labeling changes. With regulations expected within two years, brands and designs will have a very short period to make changes to comply.
A long-simmering food fight is about to boil over. The FDA is intent on improving labeling standards to encourage healthier eating. If passed as proposed, the effort will shine a light on added sugars, calorie counts and portion sizes, which will likely drive changes in product formulations and sizing.
Currently, the FDA is weighing revisions to the guidelines following a six-month-long public comment period that ended on Aug. 1. Once finalized, the regulations are expected to be enforced within two years — giving food and beverage companies a short window to react.
What it means for added sugar
Health-conscious label readers should be able to differentiate natural sugars such as those that occur in fruit juices from added refined sugars in the foods or drinks they are about to consume, notes SmartBrief’s Smartblog on Food and Beverage. "Added sugar" will be listed alongside total sugar, which is already a labeling requirement.
Coupled with a consumer trend toward healthier eating, the rules may motivate beverage formulation changes. Many companies have already begun to experiment with healthier profiles to combat the industry’s 16-year sales decline, as IBISWorld noted in “Fizzling Out: Soda Producers Will Refresh Product Lines to Decelerate Falling Demand.”
The rule could affect, in particular, makers of sugary ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages, but it also could impact some drinks widely viewed as better for you such as RTD teas. Many contain added sugar — perhaps more than one would guess from tasting. That’s because sugar frequently does double duty, canceling out the taste of other additives such as acid required in the production process and sweetening the beverage.
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