The 44-page strategy document contains a mixture of plans that can be enacted by the federal government, calls to action to private companies and state legislatures, and promises to “work with Congress” to ensure that various schemes are properly resourced.
We have outlined some of the areas below that may directly impact consumer packaged goods companies, but the report also contains several general admonitions to private companies to help consumers make healthier choices, although these have no legislative teeth, such as:
- “Online grocery companies should redesign their search algorithms to ensure healthier products appear first.”
- “The food industry should increase the availability of and access to foods that are low in sodium and added sugars…"
- “Food retailers should hire RDNs to help provide nutrition information to consumers, redesign stores to more prominently place healthier choices, market and stock healthier items, and establish buying programs with local farms."
The strategy document includes plans to:
Facilitate lowering added sugar consumption. “HHS FDA will begin assessing the evidence base for further strategies to reduce added sugar consumption, collaborating with other HHS divisions and USDA to hold a public meeting regarding future steps the federal government could take to reduce intake of added sugars such as developing targets for categories of foods, similar to the voluntary targets FDA developed for sodium.”
Develop a front-of-package (FOP) labeling system: This would “quickly and easily communicate nutrition information.” The White House notes that “FOP labeling systems—such as star ratings or traffic light schemes—can promote equitable access to nutrition information and healthier choices and could also prompt industry to reformulate foods to be healthier. HHS FDA will conduct research and propose developing a standardized FOP labeling system for food packages to help consumers, particularly those with lower nutrition literacy, quickly and easily identify foods that are part of a healthy eating pattern.”
Provide nutrition info for online shoppers: “Facilitate making nutrition information easily available when grocery shopping online… HHS FDA will publish a request for information to gather public input regarding industry practices, technology, and current challenges to inform guidance for the food industry on nutrition, ingredient, and allergen information that should be available for groceries sold online.
Issue stricter voluntary sodium targets: “In 2021, HHS FDA issued voluntary, short-term (2.5-year) sodium reduction targets across packaged foods… HHS FDA will issue revised, voluntary sodium reduction targets to facilitate continually lowering the amount of sodium in the food supply beyond the 2021 targets.” USDA will also update nutrition criteria in USDA Foods procurement specifications to align with the stricter sodium targets and “consider the inclusion of added sugars limits.”
Update regs permitting salt substitutes in standardized foods: HHS FDA will propose to update regulations to enable manufacturers to use salt substitutes in standardized foods to support sodium reduction. VA will also increase procurement of lower-sodium foods.
Make sure that foods labeled as ‘healthy’ align with current nutrition science: “[As previously announced] HHS FDA will propose updating the nutrition standards for when companies use the "healthy” claim on their products and develop a symbol companies may use to depict the ‘healthy’ claim on food packages." Aproposed rule has already been completed, but a publication date has not yet been released. HHS FDA will also"develop guidance for industry on the use of Dietary Guidance Statements on food labels to help people understand how a food or food group can contribute to a healthy eating pattern.”
Address the marketing of unhealthy foods: “The DoD will limit marketing in military dining facilities to those that meet its Go 4 Green program nutrition standards… The FTC has indicated that it will pursue targeted law enforcement actions to prevent the deceptive advertising of foods and dietary supplements, including deceptive advertising that might be targeted to youth.”
Adequately fund the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) to prioritize nutrition and labeling work. “HHS FDA’s CFSAN nutrition work has historically been underfunded in comparison to other priority areas,” says the document. “To date, only 7% of CFSAN’s budget supports nutrition and labeling work, yet CFSAN is responsible for the safety and labeling of approximately 80% of the U.S. food supply. The Biden-Harris Administration will work with Congress to ensure CFSAN has the resources it needs to accomplish its critical work.”
Expand incentives for fruits and vegetables in SNAP. “Incentives in SNAP to support purchasing more fruits and vegetables have been pilot tested and shown to be effective in Massachusetts and through the USDA Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program. To increase access to fruits and vegetables for SNAP recipients, the Biden-Harris Administration will work with Congress to increase the reach and impact of incentives for fruits and vegetables in SNAP.”
Marion Nestle: Strategy hits the right notes, but execution could be a challenge without Congressional action, resourcing
Marion Nestle, Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, Emerita, at New York University, told FoodNavigator-USA that she was encouraged by many aspects of the document although worries about how much the administration can actually achieve without congressional or agency action, which “could be a hard slog.”
"It’s strong on ending hunger and this section is well thought out. But I don’t see anything about a national need to reduce or prevent weight-related chronic disease, still the leading causes of death and disability in the US (heart disease, cancer, stroke, Covid-19)—except for Medicaid recipients.
“Most suggestions are to improve the food choices of individuals, not policy. It mentions marketing of unhealthy foods, but in a limited context.
“In any case, all of this is talk. The big question is where is the action? The things it says ‘The Biden-Harris Administration will do’ are terrific and will make a big difference. But the report is also full of statements along the lines of ‘The Biden-Harris Administration will continue…, will pursue.., is committed to.’ These require congressional or agency action that could be a hard slog.
“But as an overall statement of what needs to be done, it’s better than I expected and I hope it inspires the kind of action that is needed.”
CBA urges 'incentive-based' and 'voluntary initiatives'
Trade association the Consumer Brands Association welcomed the strategy, but said it would "urgeagainst implementing policies that may inadvertently hurt consumers, especially in the volatile economic environment that has caused a spike in the cost to manufacture grocery products."
Sarah Gallo, vice president of product policy, did not spell out what specific policies outlined in the document could "hurt consumers," but added that,"Focusing on incentive-based and voluntary initiatives, such as voluntary interpretive front-of-pack labeling schemes that are fully backed by extensive research, has the potential to positively affect our shared hunger, nutrition and health policy goals."
CSPI: 'Thrilled' with FOP labeling proposal
Washington DC based health advocacy group the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) said it was "thrilled" that the White House had decided to look again at 'at-a-glance' front-of-pack nutrition labeling.
"Front-of-package nutrition labeling will reach more consumers than Nutrition Facts labels, will help them choose healthier foods at a glance, and will spur companies to reformulate products in a more healthful direction.
"Americans are generally consuming too much sodium, added sugars, and saturated fat in their packaged foods, so to be able to quickly identify foods that are high or low in those nutrients would be a huge public health advance. As one of the organizations that haspetitioned the Food and Drug Administrationto adopt mandatory, standardized, and evidence-based front-of-package labeling, we are thrilled that this policy is at the center of the strategy."
RDN: 'It’s the combination of foods that makes for a ‘healthy’ diet'
Asked about the merits of an ‘at-a-glance’ front of pack labeling scheme and a ‘healthy’ logo on pack, Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, creator of BetterThanDieting.com, and author of Read It Before You Eat It - Taking You from Label to Table,told us that, “I’m not a fan of labeling food as good (green) or bad (red), as with a traffic light system.
“A ‘bad’ diet is not labeled as such because you eat ice cream or an occasional cookie — it’s the combination and quantities of these foods that counts. I can appreciate highlighting items like added sugar, sodium and calories on the front of the package, but with our rushed schedules, I’d be concerned that a ‘healthy’ icon on the front of the package will keep people from slipping that package over to read the ingredient list and see what else in in the food they’re purchasing.”
She added: “Although ‘healthy’ is a term we easily attribute to so many foods, it is not really a term that is easy to define because our diets are not made up of individual foods — it’s the combination of foods that makes for a ‘healthy’ diet. Looking at an individual food and slapping an icon on there that says healthy is like expecting one instrument to play the music of an orchestra.”
Read the National Strategy document HERE.
More to follow...
Front of pack labeling
In a 2011 report, theInstitute of Medicineargued that front-of-pack schemes should interpret nutrition information for consumers at a glance, and recommended listing calories per serving as well as a rating of zero to three 'nutritional points' based on levels of saturated and trans fats, sodium, and added sugars.
While this was welcomed by some health advocacy groups, it was also criticized for only taking 'bad' nutrients into account, rather than a product's overall nutrient density.
The industry-backedFacts Up Front program, meanwhile,spells out calories, sat fat, sodium and sugar per serving, and gives manufacturers the option to mention two ‘nutrients to encourage,’ but does not rate or ‘rank’ products with colors, stars or numbers/scores.
It does not - unlike some competing front-of-pack labels - attempt to guide shoppers towards ‘healthier’ products or rank foods, but instead highlights key data from the Nutrition Facts panel to help consumers make informed choices.
NuVal... phased out
The NuVal shelf tag program – which assigned products a score of 1-100 based on their nutritional value – has been phased out.
NuVal – which at its peakfeatured in1,600+ stores in 31 states including Tops Friendly Marks in New York, Raley’s in California and Big Y in Massachusetts – factored in positive nutritional attributes as well as negative ones, with nutrients with generally favorable effects on health (eg. vitamins) increasing the score, while nutrients with generally unfavorable effects(trans fat, excess sodium) decreasing the score.
As with any system attempting to apply a standardized approach to thousands of foods across multiple categories, however, it threw up some strange results (read more here atUSA Today andYale Daily News), and attracted criticism fromsome big CPG brands and theNational Consumers League (NCL) due to its refusal to publish the algorithms underpinning its scores.
According to itswebsite,it is now focused on the NuVal attributes program, which guides consumers to foods and beverages with specific attributes such as gluten-free, organic or low sodium, but does not ascribe a score/points to individual products.
While color-based systems are seen as more consumer-friendly by some, they have also proved controversial if they fail to take portion sizes into account and because they tend to focus on negatives (fat, salt, sugar) rather than positive nutrition (fiber, vitamins).
For example, under the ‘traffic light’ system adopted by many firms in the UK, nutrient-rich but salty products such as cheese or savory spreads feature red traffic lights for sodium because they contain a lot of sodium per 100g, despite the fact that per serving, they might be lower in salt than products featuring green traffic lights.
Traffic light systems have also been criticized for awarding multiple green dots to products seen as having little nutritional value such as diet colas, which might quench thirst but do not deliver much positive nutrition.
The White House has asked the Food and Drug Administration to propose a standardized front-of-packaging food labeling system. It should help consumers “particularly those with lower nutrition literacy” to make quick and healthy decisions, the White House said in a 44-page strategy report.Are added sugars required to be listed on the new Nutrition Facts label? ›
Information about added sugars is now required on the Nutrition Facts label. Along with all information on the Nutrition Facts label, the amount of added sugars is important to consider when choosing foods and beverages.Why is there no target value set for sugar intake? ›
Total Sugars include sugars naturally present in many nutritious foods and beverages, such as sugar in milk and fruits as well as any added sugars that may be present in the product. There is no Daily Value* for total sugars because no recommendation has been made for the total amount to eat in a day.What new line has been added to the label under total sugars? ›
Adding “Includes X g Added Sugars” directly beneath the listing for “Total Sugars.” Some sugars such as honey and maple syrup do not have to list the number of grams of added sugars but must still include the %Daily Value.What is front of pack nutrition Labelling? ›
FOPNL refers to nutrition labelling systems that are presented on the front of food packages with the aim of supporting consumers to make healthier food choices at the point of purchase by delivering simplified and at-a-glance nutritional information.Why is it important to display the nutrition label in food packaging? ›
FAO promotes Food Labelling as an effective tool to protect consumer health in terms of food safety and nutrition. Food labels convey information about the product's identity and contents, and on how to handle, prepare and consume it safely.When did added sugars get added to the nutrition label? ›
Jacobson, president of CSPI, which first petitioned the FDA to put added sugars on Nutrition Facts labels in 1999.What is the difference between sugar and added sugar on nutrition label? ›
Naturally occurring sugars are found naturally in foods such as fruit (fructose) and milk (lactose). Added sugars include any sugars or caloric sweeteners that are added to foods or beverages during processing or preparation (such as putting sugar in your coffee or adding sugar to your cereal).What is recommended to limit added sugars to foods? ›
Americans should limit their added sugars
Americans 2 years and older keep their intake of added sugars to less than 10% of their total daily calories. For example, in a 2,000 calorie diet, no more than 200 calories should come from added sugars (about 12 teaspoons).
The AHA suggests a stricter added-sugar limit of no more than 100 calories per day (about 6 teaspoons or 24 grams) for most adult women and no more than 150 calories per day (about 9 teaspoons or 36 grams of sugar) for most men.
The naturally occurring sugars in your foods, like your yogurt's dairy sugar (lactose), or the sugar in an apple (fructose), aren't counted, since they're not added sugars.How do you identify sugar added to food labels? ›
To identify added sugars, look at the ingredients list. Some major clues that an ingredient is an added sugar include: it has syrup (examples: corn syrup, rice syrup) the word ends in “ose” (examples: fructose, sucrose, maltose, dextrose)What are 3 other names for added sugar found on an ingredient label? ›
of Health and Human Services, added sugars show up on food and drink labels under the following names: Anhydrous dextrose, brown sugar, cane crystals, cane sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, crystal dextrose, evaporated cane juice, fructose sweetener, fruit juice concentrates, high-fructose corn ...Does front-of-pack Labelling work? ›
Systematic reviews, including experimental and real-life set- tings, indicate that FOPLs improve the healthiness of product selection and purchases, and improve knowledge and ability to identify healthier products [8–11].How can front-of-pack labels inform our food choices? ›
Some front-of-pack nutrition labels use red, amber and green colour coding. Colour-coded nutritional information tells you at a glance if the food has high, medium or low amounts of fat, saturated fat, sugars and salt: red means high. amber means medium.Is Front-of-pack Labelling mandatory? ›
Is front-of-package labelling mandatory? Under the current EU rules, it's not mandatory to provide nutrition information on the front of packages, but food business operators can provide it voluntarily under certain conditions.What are the benefits of nutritional Labelling? ›
It shows you some key nutrients that impact your health. You can use the label to support your personal dietary needs – look for foods that contain more of the nutrients you want to get more of and less of the nutrients you may want to limit. Nutrients to get less of: Saturated Fat, Sodium, and Added Sugars.What is the importance of labeling and packaging? ›
Packaging and labelling directly impact sales and profits as they offer detailed information on the price, quality, quantity, usage, ingredients, and features of the products. They also display the brand logo and message that help the customer find the product easily by creating a recall value.Why is it important to analyze packaging and labels of health products? ›
Ingredients: The label on a product allows the customer to know what is in the food they're eating or the product they're using. This allows the consumer to know how healthy, or unhealthy, the product is. It's also important to display the ingredients for those who may be allergic to certain ingredients.What is the FDA standard for no added sugar? ›
“Sugar Free”: Less than 0.5 g sugars per RACC and per labeled serving (or, for meals and main dishes, less than 0.5 g per labeled serving). Contains no ingredient that is a sugar or generally understood to contain sugars except as noted below.
What are total sugars? The total sugars section on nutrition labels is just what it sounds like — it tells you the total amount of sugar in a food or drink product. This includes sugars that are naturally present in foods, as well as sugar added during processing.What are the 10 things that must on a food packaging label? ›
- Name of the food. ...
- List of ingredients. ...
- Allergen information. ...
- Quantitative declaration of ingredients (QUID) ...
- Net quantity. ...
- Storage conditions and date labelling. ...
- Name and address of manufacturer. ...
- Country of origin or place of provenance.
The 10 things that MUST be on every label
Description or technical name of the food or drink (not the brand) Net weight or volume – amount of food or drink without the weight of the packaging. Date mark. Ingredient List, including additives.
- Effective CPG Packaging Must Call Attention to Itself. ...
- Your CPG Packaging Must Make the Brand and Its Purpose Clear. ...
- Your Packaging Design Should Awaken Emotions. ...
- Packaging Design Should Strive for “Iconic Assets.” ...
- CPG Packaging Should Capture and Call Out Benefits.
Foods with added sugars contribute extra calories to your diet but provide little nutritional value. Eating too many foods with added sugars sets the stage for potential health problems, such as: Poor nutrition.What is the healthiest added sugar? ›
Brown sugar is definitely a healthier option than refined white sugar. It is processed in a completely natural way to maintain as much of the sugarcane's natural nutrition as possible, including vitamins and minerals.What foods contain added sugars? ›
The major sources of added sugars are sugary beverages (regular soft drinks, sweetened tea and coffee, energy drinks and fruit drinks), candy, desserts and sweet snacks (cakes, cookies, pies).How much added sugar per day is allowed? ›
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting calories from added sugars to no more than 10% each day. That's 200 calories, or about 12 teaspoons, for a 2,000 calorie diet. What Are Added Sugars? Some foods have sugar naturally—like fruits, vegetables, and milk.How much sugar and added sugar should you have a day? ›
AHA Sugar Recommendation
Men should consume no more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams or 150 calories) of added sugar per day. For women, the number is lower: 6 teaspoons (25 grams or 100 calories) per day. Consider that one 12-ounce can of soda contains 8 teaspoons (32 grams) of added sugar!
Eating and drinking too many added sugars makes it difficult to achieve a healthy eating pattern without taking in too many calories. Too much sugar in your diet can lead to health problems such as weight gain and obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
"Honey's advantages over sugar include a slightly lower glycemic index (i.e. it doesn't affect your blood-sugar levels as much)," Dr. Dixon says. "It also contains more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, such as calcium, potassium, vitamin C, zinc, phenolic acids, and flavonoids."How much sugar is in a Coke? ›
35 g in a 330 ml can.
As a general rule, there's 10.6 g of sugar per 100 ml of Coca‑Cola Original Taste.
Though we know sugar doesn't directly cause type 2 diabetes, you are more likely to get it if you are overweight. You gain weight when you take in more calories than your body needs, and sugary foods and drinks contain a lot of calories.What happens if you don't eat natural sugar? ›
"Studies have shown that [when someone stops eating sugar] there are similar effects as when people get off drugs," she said. "You may experience exhaustion, headaches, brain fog and irritability. Some people even have gastrointestinal distress."What happens if you eat too much sugar? ›
"The effects of added sugar intake — higher blood pressure, inflammation, weight gain, diabetes, and fatty liver disease — are all linked to an increased risk for heart attack and stroke," says Dr. Hu.Why is added sugar worse than natural sugar? ›
Added sugars are typically processed quickly, either immediately used for energy or sent directly to the liver for fat storage. Your blood glucose level drops quickly after eating added sugars, known as a sugar crash, that leaves you hungry, irritable, and usually craving another pickup.Do nutrition labels show added sugar? ›
Information about added sugars is now required on the Nutrition Facts label. Along with all information on the Nutrition Facts label, the amount of added sugars is important to consider when choosing foods and beverages.How do you keep track of added sugar? ›
- Total sugars include both added sugars and natural sugars such as fructose in fruit and lactose in milk. ...
- Check the serving info at the top of the label.
Eating red meat and sweets less often. alcohol, added sugars, and solid fats. Where would you look on the food label to determine if sugar was added to the product? ingredients list.What are 5 names for added sugars? ›
- corn sweetener.
- ethyl maltol.
- corn syrup.
- fruit juice concentrates.
- high-fructose corn syrup.
No sugar or ingredient containing sugar was added during processing or packaging. (Also: without added sugar or no sugar added.)What percentage of packaged foods contain added sugars? ›
An article in The Upshot from the New York Times featured our research showing over 60% of the foods and beverages purchased in American grocery stores contain added sugar. Some of those products are more obvious sugary foods, but not all.What are hidden sugar names? ›
Often disguised as: maize syrup, glucose syrup, fructose syrup, tapioca syrup, fruit fructose, crystalline fructose, HFCS, and fructose. Make a mental note when reading food labels to always add more grams of sugar to what your nutrition label states.What are the 3 main types of sugar? ›
- White Sugars.
- Brown Sugars.
- Liquid Sugars.
If You're Cutting Out Sugar, Read Those Food Labels
How To Spot Sugar On Food Labels Article
Sugars on food labels
An FDA nutrition facts label contains information regarding the nutritional value, serving size, vitamins and minerals present in the food. According to the FDA, nutrition labels should be placed next to the ingredients list within a box. The box helps consumers know where to look for nutritional information.Why would a food package have a label with two nutrition facts columns? ›
A dual column label gives the opportunity to display the nutrient information for the prepared product in the second column. A dual column label is sometimes used when the packaged food is commonly consumed with another ingredient, such as cereal and milk.What is the purpose of the nutritional flag? ›
The nutrition flag suggests the kind of food and the amount of food that Thai people should have each day. However, the suggestions are for those who are over 6 years of age, adult and the elderly.What is the purpose of the DV% listed on a food label next to each item? ›
Use %DV to determine if a serving of the food is high or low in an individual nutrient. As a general guide: 5% DV or less of a nutrient per serving is considered low. 20% DV or more of a nutrient per serving is considered high.What are the 3 most important parts of the Nutrition Facts label? ›
A Nutrition Facts label lists the nutritional content, the serving size, and the calories for a recommended serving of a food product. This helps consumers make the best decision on how much to eat, maybe when they want to eat this food, or how they can better balance their food choices throughout the day.
In 1990, the USDA mandated that all food companies were required to make consistent claims and include a detailed, standardized nutrition facts panel on all products intended to be sold.What is a nutrition label and why were they created? ›
A history of the Nutrition Facts label
In November 1990, the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA) was signed into law, marking the culmination of a groundbreaking effort to provide information on food labels to help consumers make better choices and encourage food companies to produce healthier food.
In 1973, the FDA published the first regulations that required the nutrition labeling of certain foods. These included foods with added nutrients and those for which a nutrition claim was made on the label or in advertising.What are the benefits of nutritional Labelling? ›
It shows you some key nutrients that impact your health. You can use the label to support your personal dietary needs – look for foods that contain more of the nutrients you want to get more of and less of the nutrients you may want to limit. Nutrients to get less of: Saturated Fat, Sodium, and Added Sugars.Is nutritional Labelling mandatory? ›
Most food products in the market are labelled with NIPs, although this information is only compulsory when a nutrition or health claim on food is made.What is the purpose of food and nutrition guidelines? ›
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans provides advice on what to eat and drink to meet nutrient needs, promote health, and prevent disease. It is developed and written for a professional audience, including policymakers, healthcare providers, nutrition educators, and Federal nutrition program operators.Why are some foods exempt from requiring a nutrition facts panel List three examples of exempt foods? ›
Raw fruits, vegetables, and fish are exempt from nutrition fact labeling. Foods that contain insignificant amounts (insignificant means it can be listed as zero) of all required nutrients (foods that fall under this exemption include tea, coffee, food coloring, etc.).Which of the following would not need the Nutrition Facts label that is legally mandated on food products in a grocery store? ›
Which of the following would NOT need the Nutrition Facts Label that is legally mandated on food products in a grocery store? The addition to food of nutrients that is not naturally present.Which of the following standards can help you compare nutrient contents of packaged foods to make more healthful choices? ›
Of the given standards, the one that can help you compare the nutrient contents of packaged foods to make more healthful choices is % DVs. This stands for percent daily values. This can be used to compare the nutrient concentrations of a particular food.