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Enhancing Nutritional Food Panels

WASHINGTON—New research by the International Food Information Council Foundation (IFIC) highlights the critical need for conducting additional consumer research to determine if the benefits of certain enhancements to the nutritional facts panel (NFP) found on food and beverage labels outweigh any confusion they may generate. Any changes also must be accompanied by appropriate consumer education to ensure that people know how to use the information provided.

Overall findings from the Foundation’s three-phase research project reveals consumers generally have a positive perception of the food label; however, there are several ways the label potentially could be enhanced to help people understand the information provided and use it even more effectively including:

● Mentioning a government body, like the FDA, in a highly used area of the NFP, such as a header in the main body of the NFP, increases consumer trust in the information provided, particularly serving size.

● Moving the location of calories into the main body of the NFP appears to encourage greater use of this information.

● Adding the percent Daily Value (%DV) of calories helps consumers consider a product’s calorie contribution within the context of their daily diet.

● Moving the information in the current footnote into an easily referenced column in the main body of the NFP greatly increases consumers’ ability to evaluate a product.

With the FDA looking into NFP changes and studying how these changes may affect consumers’ understanding of the information provided on the label, IFIC shared this research to assist FDA with its work.

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