A Guide to Food Label Requirements for food labeling in 2019
No matter if you're a seasoned food professional, or a foodpreneur just getting started with your concept, the idea of product packaging is an overwhelming thought.
How do you get started with labeling your food product packaging?
What things do I need to include on my food label?
What’s the best way to design a food label?
If you've wondered any of these questions, you're not alone! Food labeling requirements regulated by the overseeing organizations can seem daunting for large food packaging companies, let alone a start-up!
Last week, we talked about how to ensure your data quality with a product spec sheet.
If you’re ready to dive even deeper, we've got some tips and resources on food labeling for you to keep in your arsenal. So, grab a pen and paper (lot's of good information coming at ya!) and keep reading, boss!
In maintaining full transparency with you, all information provided in this post is assumed to be true, and not misleading. However, no representations or warranties are made with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this post. Consult the guidance of any third-party regulation organizations for the most recent and accurate information.
Definition of a Food Label
Essentially, a food label is the exterior food product packaging that informs the consumer of what a product is and what the package contains.
According to the Resource Label Group, a food product label is an entrusted element of a brand's consumer outreach strategy that is meant to:
Communicate product value to potential customers
Exemplify a brand's story with recognition and trust
Display all regulatory requirements as per the FDA
Grab the attention of the shopper with intriguing design
Across the food industry, food labeling is regulated by two overseeing organizations - the FDA and the USDA. The FDA regulates all foods, except for some meat, poultry, and egg products, which are regulated by the USDA.
The information provided in this post is regarding food labeling as regulated by the FDA.
If you need to label your food products and would like some guidance, we are launching a food labeling guide to help! In it, it’ll share insight that I learned during my 5+ years in the industry to help you gather your specifications for your product and convey them via a food product label.
Food labeling requirements
As a manufacturer, you are able to design your food packaging container with any aesthetic that fits your brand. However, as a food professional, you know that there are certain requirements regulated by the FDA that each food label must meet.
Large manufacturers and food packaging companies have teams established that dedicate hours upon hours to ensure that their food product packaging maintains satisfactory regulation standards. But, as a start-up or food entrepreneur, you may not have the resources or even know where to find this pertinent information.
Tha't’s why I’m here, of course.
According to the FDA, there are 7 essential components of a food packaging label.
A statement of identity
A statement informing the consumer what the package contains based on its common name (i.e. potato chips).
A statement of net quantity
A statement informing the consumer of how much product the package contains (i.e. 8 fl oz).
The name and address of the manufacturer, packer, or distributor, along with a statement informing the consumer of their relationship to the product (i.e. 'manufactured by').
An ingredient declaration
A statement of the ingredients used in the food product, listed by common or usual name in descending order of predominance by weight.
An allergen declaration
A statement informing the consumer that the product contains one or more of the eight major food allergens (milk, egg, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, peanuts, and soybeans).
A nutrition facts panel
A label illustrating detailed information about the nutrient content of the food contained within the package.
Nutrition, regulatory, and/or health claims
Voluntary statement(s) listed on the food product packaging in an attempt to further market the product to the consumer.
To ensure that you capture all the data needed for your food product, consult the guidance of any third-party certification or regulatory requirements.
Get started creating your food product labels with our Food Labeling Starter Pack and Curating a Food Label Checklist!
How to Create Your Food Label
As mentioned, you should create a food label for your product with a design that truly captures the aesthetic of your brand. Consumers are looking to connect with brands on a deeper level, and a food packaging label allows an opportunity for you to intrigue consumers at first glance.
In regards to the required information you must include within your food packaging label, developing a spec sheet for your food product is the first step in data curation. Ensuring that you have a specification sheet that communicates attributes which are correct, current, and in compliance with regulatory requirements is the baseline step in your label creation process.
If you’re interested in consulting professional help, you can learn more about our one-on-one services to analyze your products and develop ingredient statements and nutritional facts panels here.
Or, if you want to get started on your own, I recommend downloading our food labeling guide. It walks you through the food labeling process with worksheets and templates for you to use. If interested, you can sign up below.
Packaging food items and creating food labels is a difficult concept to grasp. Customers and consumers rely on a food product label to make purchasing and consumption decisions, so it is crucial to ensure the accuracy of any and all required information on the label.
What questions do you have about food labels that I didn't answer?
*All information provided in this post by Chelsea J. Rainey, and the Culinistics brand, is assumed to be true, and not misleading. No representations or warranties are made with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this post. Chelsea J. Rainey, and the Culinistics brand, is not liable for manufacturing costs, production revisions, health or hazard concerns, regulation compliance, or any other circumstances pertaining to any information shared with website viewers. Information was compiled from top industry resources and is based on regulations administered prior to April 2019. Consult the guidance of any third-party regulation organizations for the most recent and accurate information.