Will Easy-to-Digest FDA Labels Help Shoppers Find Cheaper, Healthier Foods?

Reading a nutritional facts on cookies packaging.
Ekaterina79/Getty Images

Soon it’ll be easier to tell if the pricy food you’re paying top dollar for is really any better for you than the cheap stuff.

According to The Wall Street Journal, new Food and Drug Administration rules will require brands to change their nutrition labels to include the calorie count and and serving size in larger, bolder font, and inform consumers how much added sugar is in the product.

The FDA initially expected most large brands — those with at least $10 million in annual food sales — to complete the changes by July 26, 2018, but at the insistence of food makers, it backed off the compliance date. The FDA has not set a new deadline, but the Grocery Manufacturing Association would like it delayed until May 2021.

Some brands, like Campbell’s Soup, have criticized the push for a delay and say they are happy to comply with the original deadline. In fact, Campbell’s Soup has already started placing the new labels on its products.

“This was a philosophical decision,” Campbell Soup Co. CEO Denise Morrison told The Wall Street Journal. “Transparency is the single most important ingredient.”

Coca-Cola will make the switch to the new labels for some products this summer.

Other brands, however, don’t seem too eager to make the switch.

Kellogg, for example, supports a delay. The cereal maker said it needed more information about the requirements before it could comply with the changes, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Other FDA Nutrition Label Changes Could Be Coming

Sugar and calories aren’t the only things the FDA has on its agenda. The FDA also wants to require brands that use genetically modified organisms to say so on their products’ labels.

It lost the battle to make GMO labels a requirement last year when brands fought back, although some brands, including Campbell’s, began voluntarily to disclosing GMO use.

Desiree Stennett (@desi_stennett) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.