Old label vs new label
❝ The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently ordered up new nutrition labels for cereal boxes, candy bars, and every other packaged food item in the supermarket. Soon, they will list not just how much sugar is inside, but whether that sugar was naturally occurring, as in raisins, or added later, as on the flakes that come with them.
Though this additional information won’t be required until next year, health advocates predicted that such legally mandated disclosure would deliver less-sugary foods in its wake. They were right.
❝ Four Twizzler strawberry twists have the same sugar content as an apple, but clearly the fruit is a better choice — in no small part because it comes with fiber and Vitamin C. The FDA decision recognized that the source of sugar matters, and that listing “Sugars” alone doesn’t reflect that. The agency decision attempts to outsmart food manufacturers that commonly call added sugar ingredients by other names, such as high fructose corn syrup, agave, and fruit juice. Current-ingredients lists and nutrition-facts panels, the FDA was saying, can be surprisingly deceptive.
❝ Experts in both health and the food industry predicted that the new labels would lead to reformulated products, with those marketed as “healthy” likely to be the first to get makeovers. Now that manufacturers would have to show in no uncertain terms how much sugar was being added, they would cut it, just as they did with trans fats when their disclosure became required.
Lo and behold, those predictions proved prescient. On Tuesday, Kind, maker of the increasingly popular fruit and nut bars, is to start posting the added sugar content of its more than 60 products on its website. The information, which will appear on the bars themselves early next year, shows that, as with other foods getting ingredient makeovers, some of the bars now have less added sugar than they once had. It also lets Kind be one of the first brands, if not the first, to give the new nutritional information to customers…
❝ Companies seem to recognize the rising consumer interest in ingredients and aren’t fighting the new FDA requirement. The Grocery Manufacturers Association called the update “timely,” noting that “consumer preferences have changed dramatically since the Nutrition Facts panel was first introduced.”…Only the Sugar Association, the trade group representing the companies that make all that added sugar, pushed back, saying, blah, blah, blah, blah.
An informed consumer has the opportunity to make better choices. We certainly try to do so in our family. I hope that you do, too. The new nutrition panels are supposed to be easier to read – which will be a big help to folks like me who never remembers to bring along his reading glasses.
I look pretty silly when I take a quick photo with my iPhone of the nutrition info on a box of cereal so I can enlarge it onscreen with my fingertips to readable size. 🙂