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Balancing Label Requirements with Strong Branding

Supplement product labels need to attract consumers' eyes with strong branding, but they must also adhere to strict regulatory requirements.

Stefani Thionnet

January 27, 2014

5 Min Read
Balancing Label Requirements with Strong Branding

In 2013, the previously rejected Dietary Supplement Labeling Act was reintroduced by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL). Along with other politicians, the senator insists on having more legal requirements and guidelines for supplement manufacturers and retailers. It is yet to be seen whether the bill will pass and force distributors to change current labeling practices.

In the meantime, current regulatory requirements are still in place and need to be strictly followed. Furthermore, apart from proper labeling, supplement brand owners should also think about the proper branding of their products if they wish to be successful. A high-quality private label supplement has an attractive brand logo and message to the consumer, a USP (commonly known as a unique selling proposition, or in other words, a list of marketing statements) and all the legally required information. Heres why:

1. Branding

Branding is where it all begins. Its what makes customers pick one product over another. Research demonstrated that between 40 and 70 percent of consumers decisions to try a brand happen within 3 to 7 seconds of the initial product interaction. This means decisions to buy depend on the strength of the initial impression.

Readers are probably familiar with this, but it cannot be stressed enough. Having an attractive brand label, with a specially designed logo and the right background color according to the type of supplement, can work wonders. Supplement branding should ideally address the target group of the particular supplement or supplement group.

A weight management product such as Raspberry Ketone Complex, targeted at women, should have one type of label, while a sports nutrition product such as Testosterone Boosters, aimed at a male audience, should have another design. At the same time, brand consistency needs to be retained so consumers recognize the brand instantly and notice the subtle differences that make the label stand out.

2. USPs: Features and Benefits

A high-grade private label supplement should also feature a USPa unique selling proposition. There are concrete guidelines about the information that is to be displayed on the information panel and the principal display panel of the supplement label. These guidelines have been set by FDA.

Usually, the information panel, where consumers can find all the detailed information about contents, amounts, ingredients, etc., also features a USP. An additional USP could be featured on the principal display panel, which is shorter and catchier. It must explicitly state the benefits and advantages of the supplement in a way that attracts peoples attention. Therefore, next to the visuals and the logo, the USP is the most important part of the label.

3. Proper Labeling According to FDA Guidelines

As said, FDA has specific rules about how dietary supplements should be labeled. The mandatory statements that need to be featured on a label are: 1) the statement of identity (name of the dietary supplement), 2) the net quantity of contents statement (amount of the dietary supplement), 3) the nutrition labeling, 4) the ingredient list, and 5) the name and place of business of the manufacturer, packer or distributor".

The two main panels on a label are the principal display panel (also called the front label panel) and the information panel (positioned on the right side of the front label panel). Of the above statements, 1) and 2) need to be placed on the principal display panel and 3), 4) and 5) on the information panel.

The above does not, of course, exhaust all the requirements and regulations set up by FDA for proper labeling. Consulting FDAs website is important when preparing ones private label design. Some of the most important features of supplement labeling, though, are as follows:

  • Manufacturing of supplements must be in accordance with cGMPs (current good manufacturing practices; DSHEA Section 9; 21 CFR 111).

  • The supplement label must accurately state the contents of the packaging and the amount (according to Fair Packaging and Labeling Act; 21 USC 343(e)(2)) and also that this is a Dietary Supplement" (DSHEA Section 7(a); 21 USC 343(s)(2)(B)).

  • The "Supplement Facts" table on the informational panel must include the name and quantity of each supplement, alongside the percent of the daily value (DV), the serving size and amount per serving. The amounts are displayed in milligrams (mg), micrograms (mcg) or I.U. (International Unit, a specific measure for fat soluble vitamins; DSHEA Section 7; 21 USC 343(q)(5)(F)).

  • Furthermore, not only supplements must be mentioned, but also all other ingredients (active and inactive) that are present (DSHEA Section 4 and Food Additives Regulations; 21 USC 342(f)(1)). These must, of course, be safe for consumption.

  • Any misleading claim about the supplement is strictly forbidden (DSHEA Section 6; 21 USC 343(r)(6)(B)).

  • Health claims about the supplement must have been approved by FDA and must also conform to scientific agreement (NLEA; 21 USC 343(r)(3)(B)(i)).

These are only a few of the things to be taken into consideration when devising a label for your supplement. Its highly suggested to use the supplier services for label creation provided they follow the guidelines set forth by FDA.

A good supplement label is a private one, uniquely created for your particular brand. It requires extensive knowledge about proper labeling, a great design and a catchy USP.

Stefani Thionnet, owner and CEO, Private Label Supplement is a "cowboy entrepreneur" and a 23-year veteran in the health and wellness industry.

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