When Menutail was implementing the design for the new nutrition facts labels, we saw rules about fonts and hairlines, but like the original label, the FDA did not specify an explicit rule on the actual font you have to use.

Instead, what the FDA released guidance mock-ups for the industry to follow.  A breakdown of their mock-up shows that Helvetica Black and Helvetica are used as primary fonts.





At Menutail, we have made the explicit decision to follow the FDAs recommendations on the font and styling.  As you can see, Menutail's label looks very similar to the FDA mock-up.


However, we had this question:

What would consumers think about a nutrition facts label not in Helvetica?

To investigate this, we created two similar nutrition facts labels.  On the left is the one in Helvetica, the FDA preferred font, and on the right is Arial, the font used in Genesis ESHA.



Helvetica   Arial


Survey 1: Google Survey - 768 recipients

The first survey we created was a Google Survey.  The platform takes care of the complex work of reaching out to consumers and getting their feedback.

We would ask a simple question:

What nutrition facts label format do you like better?


It would be a one question survey where all the consumer had to do is click an image. Google also randomizes which image is shown first to ensure the survey results are accurate.  Here is an example of what the survey would look like for the consumer


Explore Survey Results 

The conclusion reached was:

Out of 768 respondents, 70% preferred the Helvetica label and 30% preferred the Arial label!

However, one of the concerns we had is in the survey, the image was a little small, so we decided to run one more smaller survey to validate the results.

Survey 2: Instant.ly - 34 participants

To address the concerns of seeing the label in isolation, and it being slightly lower quality, we decided to create a mock-up of the side of a cereal label (inspired by Kashi) of one in Helvetica, and on in Arial.  This time we created the survey on the instant.ly platform. 



What nutrition facts label format do you like better?


To get some random data, a post was made on the r/SampleSize subreddit page.

And interestingly enough despite the smaller sample size, the ratio of people liking Helvetica compared to Arial was still 70% to 30%!


Conclusion: Use Helvetica!

If you are creating your own nutrition facts label, we recommend you to use Helvetica, and keep the layout as close as possible to the FDA mock-ups.  However if you don’t want to go through the hassle of creating one on your own, please consider Menutail.com to help with your label generation needs.

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