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Front vs. Back Food Label Packaging, What You Need to Know

When shopping for your favorite foods, the placement of the label may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but it is extremely important. There are a variety of label placements for products, but two of the most common are the front and back label. Read on to learn more about everything you need to know regarding front and back labeling so you can keep this in mind when searching for information related to the nutrients or ingredients of your favorite foods.

Front-of-Package Labeling

According to the Grocery Manufacturers Association, front-of-package nutrition labeling systems were brought into the industry at the request of Michelle Obama in 2010. This form of labeling is easy to use and displays the key nutritional information on the front of food and beverage packages.

It is important that labeling is easy to read and understand so consumers are able to follow healthy diets consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and front-of-package labeling does just that. Nutrition information is often times used when making food-purchasing decisions, and selecting the right foods will improve dietary choices and result in a reduced risk of obesity and chronic diseases. In fact, America’s food and beverage manufacturers joined forces with retailers to develop and implement Facts Up Front, which is an initiative to provide Americans with critical nutrition Package Labelsinformation about their favorite products including calories, nutrients and more.

Information related to calories and nutrients is important to the FDA as well. “Today, ready access to reliable information about the calorie and nutrient content of food is even more important, given the prevalence of obesity and diet-related diseases in the United States,” Dr. Hamburg, M.D., Commissioner of Food and Drugs, said in a letter to industry according to the FDA.

Back-of-Package Labeling

The Nutrition Facts label was introduced 20 years ago, and nutrition information in readable type is required on almost all packaged foods by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This information usually appears on the back of the package. In the past two years the FDA has issued 2 proposed rules and 1 supplemental proposed rule on updating the Nutrition Facts label. For more information on the proposed changes and how they may impact you, check out our blog “Will Clearer Food Labels, Make Healthier Choices Clearer?

    Nutrition facts often included on back-of-package labeling are:
  • “% Daily Value” — that shows what portion of the amount of daily recommended nutrients the product provides, based on a 2,000-calorie diet.
  • Total fat
  • Saturated fat
  • Trans fat
  • Cholesterol
  • Fiber
  • Other nutrients
  • Serving size

Front and Back-of Package Labeling Together

According to The Journal of Consumer Affairs, a study was done on how the front and back of package labels influence consumer beliefs about health claims. The study revealed that combining the short health claims on the front and the full information on the back increases the consumers’ believability of the product’s health claims.

The next time you are shopping for your favorite snack food products make sure to keep an eye on the label whether it is on the front or back of the bag. It contains important information to keep you healthy while enjoying delicious foods!

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