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Are Your Labeling Health Claims Misleading?

January 23, 2017

Over the past several years, more and more customized labels containing the words natural, organic, and healthy have been popping up on shelves. While this is wonderful if it’s true and the products are indeed healthy alternatives—many consumers are finding that they are being misled. And since the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t have clear guidelines as to what healthy entails, many companies are still making false health claims.

However, all of this is about to change as the FDA reevaluates nutrient content claims. To ensure that your product labels are not misleading, we’ll discuss some tips to help you avoid making misleading health claims.

Nutrient Content Claims

You may be familiar with KIND healthy snacks—maybe because of their catchy, alluring name, or perhaps because they strive to offer healthy snacks at affordable prices. Or maybe you tried a KIND bar once and were instantly captivated by the delicious, sweet taste. Whatever the case, many shoppers were disappointed when they found out that KIND may have not been completely truthful with their customized labels.

In March of 2015, the FDA issued a warning to KIND LLC—the creators of KIND Healthy Snacks. According to the FDA, KIND made a variety of health claims on their product labels, but did not meet the FDA’s labelling regulations to do so. The FDA asked KIND to correct their product labels and remove any misleading information that suggests that KIND bars are healthy alternatives to traditional breakfast bars.

After receiving the warning letter, KIND complied and an agreement was made that KIND could use the term healthy on their product labels, as long as the term referred to the company’s philosophy and not a nutritional claim. Shortly after the FDA came to this agreement, KIND posted a blog update on their website proudly announcing the nutrient content claim. Instead of lashing out or firing back for their past mistakes, KIND LLC embraced it, filing a public petition that asked the FDA to modify their nutrient content regulations moving forward.

What Makes a Label Misleading?

According to the FDA, companies must follow a set of rules and regulations when creating customized labels, especially if the product is to be labelled healthy. By following these regulations, you’ll ensure that you are remaining transparent with your customers and are not misleading them in any way.

According to Consumer Reports, there are five health food claims that tend to mislead modern-day customers the most. These health claims include:

  • Multigrain claims

  • Trans fat claims

  • No nitrites or nitrates claims

  • Low sodium claims

  • Extra fiber claims

Additionally, sugar claims tend to confuse shoppers, especially as sugar alternatives like stevia, agave, evaporated cane juice, and monk fruit extract grow in popularity. As we discussed, KIND Snacks has been given permission to mention the term healthy in their company philosophy, but not in regards to their ingredients. When in doubt, avoid making health claims unless you are certain that your ingredients meet FDA health claim regulations.

When you’re ready to update your nutritional labels to ensure that they are easy-to-read, eye-catching, and far from misleading, Sheet-Labels.com can help. Contact us today to get started!   

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