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When Making Nutritional Claims, Be Mindful of the FDA

How do you get your customers’ attention with labels? For companies in the food and beverage industries, there is some evidence that consumers respond well to positive nutritional claims.

For instance, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people viewed packaged foods more positively if they contained the phrase “low-sodium.” They tended to prefer these products over those that were labeled with messages that promoted other aspects, such as “great taste.”

There is some evidence that consumers respond well to positive nutritional claims.

With this in mind, it makes sense for food and beverage marketers to position their products in the healthier light possible. If an item has a significant amount of protein or fiber, or tends to have less fat than the competition, this is an opportunity to create an attractive label.

But its important to be cautious when going down this road. While there may be rewards associated with nutritional labeling, there are also risks. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration strictly regulates nutritional claims on packaged food and beverages, and not all labels will necessarily pass muster. 

As noted by a recent article on Natural Product Insider, the FDA uses daily recommended values (DRV) or recommended daily intake (RDI) as measures to determine whether a product can be considered “low” in a negative nutrient – such as fat or sugar – or “a good source of” a positive nutrient, like protein. Only nutrients with corresponding DRVs or RDIs are allowed to be represented in this way. 

Failure to properly follow FDA labeling guidelines could lead to fines and penalties, as well as the sudden need to re-label your products. So, if you want to bring a great new gluten-free food to the market, or introduce a tasty low-sugar beverage, be sure to label them properly.

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