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Label-It-Once: THE NUTS AND BOLTS OF RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN CPG

With so much development in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry, from updated nutritional fact panel rules, an industrywide initiative to clarify the confusing “use-by” labeling, or the recently finalized national rule regarding bioengineered food disclosure – even industry veterans can be forgiven for feeling overwhelmed by it all!

If this sounds familiar, then you’ve come to the right place. These new laws and regulations will certainly keep your team busy over the next several months as you examine legislation and determine your path towards compliance. Thankfully, however, the deadlines overlap; providing an opportunity to address the new labeling laws in one fell swoop and get back to what really matters – growing your brand. There is no need to repeatedly touch your product packaging, when you can deal with it once and check one more thing off your to-do list. Now is the time to strategically choose the right partners to help you update your product labeling painlessly. Now is your chance to Label-It-Once and get back to business!

Nutritional Fact Panel (NFP)
The NFP regulations titled “Food Labeling: Revision of the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels” (the Nutrition Facts Label Final Rule) and “Food Labeling: Serving Size of Foods that can Reasonably be consumed at One Eating Occasion; Dual-Column Labeling; Updating, Modifying, and Establishing Certain Reference Amounts Customarily Consumer; Serving Size for Breath Mints; and Technical Amendments” (the Serving Size Final Rule), were finalized in 2016. While their official names may be a mouthful, the purpose of these rules was to clearly and concisely update labels so that they both better reflect current science as well as provide consumers with comprehensible health information about the foods they may consume so that they can make more informed, and hopefully healthier consumption decisions.

Your compliance date will depend on your organization’s annual food sales. For those manufacturers who generate $10 million or more in annual food sales (large manufacturers), they must comply with the updated standard no later than January 1, 2020. However, for small manufacturers, those who generate less than $10 million in annual food sales, they will have through January 1, 2021 to be in compliance. With 2019 already underway, regardless of whether you are a large or small manufacturer, it’s time to seriously develop your compliance strategy and update your labels.

Clear Label Mandate
In February 2017, an industry wide initiative was launched to clarify product expiration dates and help combat food waste. Far too frequently do TravelAmerican households end up debating amongst themselves as to the meaning of use-by labels, with many employing the old adage of “when in doubt, throw it out.” This practice has caused tremendous food waste as well as significantly adding to consumers grocery budgets as they replace those items which were needlessly thrown away.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) projects that by January 2020, coinciding with the compliance dates for the NFP regulation discussed above, all grocery products will have adopted the new standard. With the clearer guideline, it is hoped that consumers will be more confident about the foods they eat and the products they use, which hopefully will translate into considerably less food waste and saved money at the market! This is a transparency initiative that your customers are sure to appreciate and can be provided at the same time that you implement your product packaging compliance strategy. There’s no reason to be a late adopter, just Label-It-Once and get back to business!

National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (“NBFDS”)
Last but certainly not least, we have NBFDS (the Standard.) In July of 2016 the Federal Government chose to preempt state level legislation in favor of a national standard for disclosing the presence of GMO’s in food products. Since then, we’ve had proposed rules, thousands of comments, and additional studies; and nearly three years later we have a finalized rule with an effective date of February 1, 2019. No, seriously! We mean it this time; the rule has been finalized and if your organization manufactures foods that are subject to the Standard then it’s time to start planning for your compliance!

It’s important to understand that GMO has become Bioengineered (BE). The Standard defines BE substances as those that contain genetically modified materials for which such modification could not otherwise be achieved through more conventional breeding or found in nature. While there are some exceptions, if your products use BE substances then you are likely subject to the Standard and will be required to disclose such information to your customers.

The Standard provides for various disclosure options, including through: text, symbol, electronic/digital link, or text message. It further provides for alternative disclosure options for small and very small packages.
With the so much information competing for so little space on a product’s packaging, many companies are using SmartLabel®, aimed at providing consumers with easy and instantaneous access to detailed product information without taking up any more space on your products’ packaging. Scanbuy, as a core member of the SmartLabel team, along with the majority of companies who currently utilize a SmartLabel solution, believe the best path for manufacturers to be compliant as well as earn the trust of their customers through increased product transparency is through the adoption of the electronic/digital link disclosure method. For those who employ this disclosure method, they would have to include a call to action which substantially conforms to “Scan here or call XXX-XXX-XXXX for more food information” with variances allowed for technological differences and package size.

Do you have small or very small packages? If you were to employ the
electronic/digital link option on your small or very small package, you would only need to include a call to action such as “Scan for info.”

If you haven’t started thinking about your path towards compliance, it’s time to start! If you are a large manufacturer, those who generate $10 million or more in annual food sales, then your implementation date is January 1, 2020. Small manufacturers, those who generate between $2.5 million and $10 million in annual food sales, however, have an implementation date of January 1, 2022. Regardless of which group you fall into, the mandatory compliance date for everyone is January 1, 2022.

Now that you have the highlights of what is required and when you must be in compliance. Scanbuy can help you get where you need to go – and fast! Scanbuy developed a SmartLabel® solution which can help you become compliant with ease. Let us help you provide consumer transparency – just Label-It-Once and get back to business!

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