With supermarkets being in high competition with each other and specific foods all being in the same area of the shop, brands need to ensure their products stand out compared to competitors. Labeling on products is an important aspect of the marketing of a product as it grabs the initial attention on the shelf through its design; however, it then also informs the consumer of the product through content.
Labeling allows customers to know all the necessities of the product, including instructions and uses (1). However, there are some laws around what should be included according to The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) who is responsible for assuring that foods sold in the United States are safe, wholesome, and properly labeled.
General Food Labeling Requirements:
As mentioned, several factors are included in labeling; below; we will discuss the standard food labeling requirements:
- All the required label statements must be placed on the front label panel or the PDP and another labeling on the information panel (the label panel immediately to the right of the PDP, facing the consumer).
- The PDP and alternate PDP is that portion of the package label that is most likely to be seen by the consumer at the time of purchase. Two surfaces are required for PDP and alternative PDP.
- Place the statement of identity, or name of the food, the net quantity statement, or the amount of product, on the PDP and the alternate PDP.
- The information panel, also called the label panel, should be placed to the PDP’s right, facing the consumer. It is important to display the information panel on the next label panel to the right if the panel is not usable due to package design and construction.
- The phrase “information panel labeling” refers to the label statements that are generally required to be placed together, without any other material, on the information panel if such labeling does not appear on the PDP. These label statements include the name and address of the manufacturer, packer, or distributor, the ingredient list, nutrition labeling, and any required allergy labeling.
- For information panel labeling, use a print or type size that is prominent, conspicuous, and easy to read. All letters should be on the lower-case letter “o.” and must be at least one-sixteenth (1/16) inch in height and should not be more than three times as high as they are wide. The lettering must contrast sufficiently with the background to be easy to read. Be sure not to crowd the required labeling with artwork or non-required labeling. Different type sizes are specified for the Nutrition Facts label; for example, you can use smaller types for the information panel labeling applicable to very small food packages. The type size requirements for the statement of identity and the net quantity statement are discussed further in the FDA booklet.
- Information that FDA does not require is considered intervening material and is not permitted to be placed between the required labeling on the information panel (e.g., the UPC bar code is not FDA-required labeling).
- Food labels must list:
- Name and address of the manufacturer, packer, or distributor. It must be accompanied by a qualifying phrase that states the firm’s relation to the product, for example, “manufactured for” or “distributed by,” unless the name given is the actual manufacturer.
- The street address should be added if the firm name and address are not listed in a current city directory or telephone book.
- City or town.
- State, Country ZIP code, or mailing code used in countries other than the United States (2)
Overall, there are many rules and regulations that you must follow in the US under the FDA. Above are just the general requirements, and we invite you to read FDA’s food labeling guide to see how you can create packaging to match the needs by law.