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Label Management
May 6, 2024
May 6, 2024

What FDA's Draft Guidance on Food-Labeling Could Mean for Your Brand

Rangan Das

What FDA's Draft Guidance on Food-Labeling Could Mean for Your Brand

May 30, 2024
May 6, 2024
Rangan Das


We all are bombarded with endless food options, and understanding what we eat and making informed choices about our nutrition is more important than ever. Dietary guidance statements, often overlooked but incredibly valuable, serve as beacons of information on food labels, guiding consumers toward healthier dietary patterns. These statements go beyond just listing nutritional content; they provide insights into how a specific food or food group fits into a balanced diet. By highlighting the benefits and contributions of certain foods to overall health, dietary guidance statements empower individuals to make conscious decisions about what they consume. 

Dietary guidance statements go beyond dry details. They translate complex nutrition into understandable language, highlighting how a food item fits into a healthy dietary pattern. They're like mini nutritionists on the label, whispering, "This oatmeal is a great way to start your day with energy!" or "This yogurt provides calcium for strong bones!".

This blog is your invitation to unleash the power of dietary guidance statements while staying compliant with FDA’s guidelines. We'll explore their impact on your health, their role in navigating food choices, and how they can empower you to make informed decisions.

A glance at the FDA's latest draft guidance on food labels

The FDA's draft guidance on food labeling is designed to help food manufacturers comply with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which are published every five years by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the USDA. The guidance also addresses the use of nutrient claims, such as "low-fat" and "high-fiber," on food labels.

The January 2024 release of the FDA's draft guidance on food labeling represents a significant change for the industry, but not simply an update of regulations. It signifies a paradigm shift towards clearer communication and consumer empowerment, offering exciting opportunities for brands to connect with health-conscious individuals through meaningful dietary guidance statements.

Alignment with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA)

Ditching jargon and embracing science, the guidance emphasizes using statements aligned with the latest DGA. This ensures consistent, evidence-based messaging on food labels, allowing consumers to make informed choices aligned with their health goals.

Also read: Everything You Need to Know About the Food Date Labeling Act

Specificity and flexibility

Gone are the days of ambiguous claims. The guidance provides concrete examples for various food categories, while simultaneously offering flexibility in phrasing. This allows brands to tailor statements to their unique products and target audiences, fostering a more personalized and relevant labeling experience for consumers.

Enhanced transparency

The document addresses concerns about "healthy" claims and nutrient declarations. Stricter definitions for terms like "low-fat" and "high-fiber" ensure clarity and prevent misinterpretations. Additionally, the guidance mandates separate disclosure of added sugars, empowering consumers to make informed decisions about their sugar intake.

Modernization and visual appeal

Recognizing the evolving food landscape, the guidance welcomes modernization in label design. Modern fonts, graphics, and layouts can now be used to enhance the clarity and effectiveness of dietary guidance statements. This creates labels that are both informative and visually appealing, fostering brand loyalty and engaging consumers on a deeper level.

Also read: 10 Foundational Elements of Packaging Design - Artwork Flow

Empowerment and differentiation

Ultimately, the FDA's draft guidance aims to empower consumers through transparency and enable brands to differentiate themselves through clear, consistent, and actionable information. By aligning with the DGA, promoting transparency, and allowing for flexibility in design, the guidance paves the way for a healthier, more informed future of food choices for both consumers and brands.

Remember, this is just a summary. For a comprehensive understanding, carefully review the full document here: https://www.fda.gov/media/166342/download?attachment

Frozen broccoli packaging
Eat a variety of vegetables
Salad spring mix package
Eat leafy green vegetables
The entire packaging and a close-up of the Dietary Guidance Statement.

What can you include in a dietary guidance section?

The FDA's draft guidance opens a treasure trove of possibilities for what you can include in your dietary guidance section. Let's delve into the exciting options and explore how they can elevate your brand:

1. Highlight your contribution to healthy dietary patterns

  • Go beyond "healthy": Instead of vague claims, utilize statements like "Part of a balanced diet for heart health" or "Excellent source of fiber, key to a digestive system."
  • Align with DGA recommendations: Showcase your product's alignment with specific dietary patterns advocated by the DGA, like "supports the MyPlate guidelines for protein intake."
  • Target specific needs: Cater to dietary trends with statements like "Gluten-free option for a healthy lifestyle" or "Plant-based protein source for a balanced vegetarian diet."

2. Translate nutrient content into actionable insights

  • Don't just list numbers: Transform "High in calcium" into "Builds strong bones for active kids" or "Supports bone health with every serving."
  • Link nutrients to benefits: Explain the functional benefits of key ingredients, like "Omega-3 fatty acids for brain health" or "Vitamin C for a healthy immune system."
  • Focus on specific benefits: Tailor your message to your target audience. For active individuals, emphasize energy-boosting nutrients. For families, highlight child-development benefits.

3. Use visuals to enhance understanding and engagement

  • Icons and symbols: Incorporate recognizable symbols like heart icons for healthy fats or fiber ribbons to visually communicate key benefits.
  • Simple infographics: Use mini infographics to illustrate the role your product plays in a balanced diet.
  • Interactive elements: Explore QR codes or augmented reality features to provide additional information and engage consumers in a fun way.

Always ensure your statements are accurate, truthful, and substantiated by scientific evidence. Don't make disease claims unless authorized by the FDA. By strategically incorporating these elements, your dietary guidance section can become a powerful tool to:

  • Educate consumers about the nutritional value of your product.
  • Build trust and brand loyalty by demonstrating transparency.
  • Stand out from the competition with clear and actionable information.
  • Contribute to a healthier future by empowering individuals to make informed choices.

How to minimize the risk of recalls with Artwork Flow

Ensuring food label compliance has never been more critical, especially with the evolving FDA regulations. Manual checks are time-consuming, prone to human error, and often insufficient in today's complex regulatory landscape. This is where Artwork Flow's ComplyAI emerges as a game-changer, automating label compliance and significantly reducing the risk of costly recalls.

Automating compliance 

Imagine the chaos of manually sifting through countless label versions across teams and formats, constantly dreading the possibility of human error. Artwork Flow, with the help of ComplyAI, eliminates this burden entirely. Its automated compliance-checking process acts as your tireless sentinel, meticulously scanning labels for potential issues that could trigger a recall. Say goodbye to tedious manual checks and hello to efficient, accurate, and consistent verification, ensuring your labels meet all regulatory requirements.

Barcode scanner
With ComplyAI, you can automate barcode scanning in Artwork Flow.

Building customized rulebooks for unparalleled control

Artwork Flow’s ComplyAI goes beyond mere automation; it empowers you to have unparalleled control over your compliance process. By crafting personalized rulebooks tailored to your specific needs, you can:

  • Maintain brand consistency by ensuring the use of approved font styles and sizes.
  • Control your terminology by flagging the presence (or absence) of crucial terms within your copy.
  • Verify the use of authorized visuals by identifying potential copyright issues associated with icons and images.
  • Eliminate typos and grammatical errors that can undermine brand professionalism and consumer trust.

Refine and optimize - a streamlined path to perfection.

The new AI-assisted compliance management solution doesn't just automate – it actively helps you refine your compliance process. By testing rulebooks on sample files and meticulously adjusting them before full application, you can optimize accuracy and minimize false positives. This iterative approach ensures your rulebooks are fine-tuned for optimal performance, guaranteeing the highest level of compliance for your labels.

Granular control - tailored rulebooks for specific needs

ComplyAI empowers you to create specialized rulebooks for different sections of your labels. This allows for granular control and targeted compliance checks. Imagine having a rulebook solely dedicated to scrutinizing allergen information, ensuring all necessary details are present and meticulously accurate. This compartmentalized approach not only streamlines the compliance process but also minimizes the risk of overlooking crucial details in specific sections of your label.

Tailored rulebooks
Create complex rulebooks that adapts to your requirements. 

Seamless error management - annotation and review made easy.

You can streamline the entire error management process, eliminating the need to juggle between different platforms with ComplyAI. It doesn't just identify potential issues but also allows you to annotate them directly with the help of advanced online proofing tools. This allows for a seamless review and correction process, saving valuable time and ensuring all identified errors are promptly addressed.

Label proofing with ComplyAI
Maintain consistent quality and reduce errors with automated checks.

Maintaining a detailed changelog - a roadmap for transparency

ComplyAI goes beyond simply identifying errors; it also helps you maintain a meticulously detailed record of changes. By uploading new versions and checking them with the same rulebooks, you can compare results and track the evolution of your labels. This comprehensive changelog proves invaluable for maintaining compliance documentation and navigating potential recalls with transparency and efficiency.

Beyond compliance: building a culture of excellence.

Artwork Flow goes beyond just meeting regulations. It fosters a culture of accuracy and attention to detail within your organization. By automating tedious tasks and centralizing label management, it frees up your team to focus on what matters most - creating high-quality, compliant products that resonate with consumers.

Artwork Flow offers even more features to elevate your labeling game.

  • Digital proofing and annotation: Collaborate on label designs efficiently with real-time feedback and version control.
  • Brand asset management: Store and manage all your marketing materials in one secure location.
  • Global language support: Reach new markets seamlessly with multilingual label generation and translation tools.

Wrap Up

Remember, prevention is always better than cure. By leveraging Artwork Flow's comprehensive features and intelligent ComplyAI, you can proactively minimize the risk of recalls, protect your brand, and contribute to a safer food ecosystem for everyone. Try out the demo today!

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