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Turning the Nutrition Facts Panel Updates into your Brand’s Competitive Advantage

Posted By: SGK February 29, 2016

In the world of food, consumers are looking for more transparency in label messaging and packaging efforts. With health and wellness on the mind, consumers are more conscious about the food they buy, which has led to the recent FDA announcement to update the Nutrition Facts label.

For clarification, the update is way more than just changing the text on the label; it’s about the consumer demand for education in the food industry. Consumers want to make more informed decisions about the food they buy, and for good reason. With terms like GMO, gluten-free, and organic being tossed around freely, the government is representing a voice for the consumers by presenting changes to the Nutrition Facts Label to mandate change and to bridge the gap.

So, how can brands empower these informed decisions?

Recently, we tuned in for BrandSquare’s webinar “Turn the Nutrition Facts Label Update into Your Competitive Advantage” presented by our SVP of Client Engagement, Carol Best. With 15 years of expertise in brand strategy and client management, Carol offers advice for brands looking to turn the nutrition facts panel update into a competitive advantage.

The update presents great opportunities for brands to reset dynamics and to rebalance the competition context by preparing ahead of time. By collecting insights, your brand can better plan and respond to – preparedness, insight, and the changes, which will create new winners and new losers in the marketplace.

Here is something to consider: a USDA study shows that 42% of working-age adults between 29-68 look at nutrition labels most or all of the time when shopping.

According to a NPD’s Dieting Monitor study, the information consumers are looking for with the label shift overtime, and compared to 2010, sugars are now more important than fat.

With an anticipated release date of March 2016, here are just a few main updates to the changes that will affect labeling:

What you can see in this image is 3 main differences; serving size, calories, and added sugars. We know, based on macro trends and health concerns, serving per container is a change that is desired by consumers. Be more responsible in coaching consumers on portion control. Help people better understand portions. The way the “Calories” section is displayed has been increased significantly. This is something many consumers are looking at as a main buying decision.

There is a new line, as you can above, which disclosed the “added sugars” to the product, and another revision includes the revised Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed (RACC). This is the change that will affect the servings will be customarily consumer verses what is the proposed serving size. These current serving sizes were established 20 years, so this is a great time to include update old studies. Relooking at actual consumption behaviors.

The updates are a huge industry undertaking – affecting over 60,000 food manufactures and 741,000 UPCs. This creates pressure on the entire supply chain, and will be critical to prepare and execute a process and decision making on the right changes to make. Resources, people internally, legal, graphics department should happen now.

These are the 6 crucial steps to take in order to prepare for the label updates:

To get ahead of the competition, prepare for the label update by uncovering critical insights in terms of the role your brand and your category in the lives of consumers. Is your product a basic nourishment or indulgence? How does your brand compete with regarding the trends of health and wellness conscious consumers?

Once you gain those insights, start thinking about what if? How will your consumers respond to the serving sizes changes to reflect consumption? What other information and education can you provide understanding the right product for your consumers?

There’s no doubt that these updates have created extraordinary pressure across the entire supply chain, both internally and externally. In preparation, brands must be sure to create the right team process, coordinate with all the component stakeholders to create attention and oversight of the process and to assign task owners, budget requirements, formalize success metrics to ensure a streamlined process.

View the full episode >> Live Session – Carol Best: Turn the Nutrition Facts Label Update into your Competitive Advantage


For more information on future Live Session episodes, or to become an expert contributor, head over to the BrandSquare website.