Compliance Date for Nutrition Information for Menus Delayed for A Year

Draft FDA Guidance Documents on the Nutrition Facts Label

Survey data showing why you should use Helvetica for your nutrition facts labels

  • Thursday, December 15, 2016
  • 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: - 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 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 to help with your label generation needs.

    Learn More About Menutail

Definitive Guide to the new Nutrition Facts Labels

  • Tuesday, November 15, 2016
  • Overview

    Download PDF Version Of This Document

    This document is a compilation of all important links involving the new FDA nutrition facts labels for food vendors.  As always, if you have any questions, feel free to e-mail us at


    New Workflow for Redesigned FDA Nutrition Facts Labels Link An overview of how to create a redesigned nutrition facts label.

    Even if you aren’t using the Menutail platform this is a good overview of the changes.
    FDA: Changes to the Nutrition Facts Label Link FDA's fact sheet of all of the changes.
    Industry Resources on the Changes to the Nutrition Facts Label Link Detailed guidance for those creating labels.
    Food Labeling Guide Link This guide is not fully up-to-date in regards to the new labeling rules.  Hopefully this will be updated next year.
    FDA Contact E-mail A contact e-mail where you can send questions.  Turn around can be from a couple days to about 2 weeks.
     Food Labeling Regulation
    (21 CFR 101)
    Link Detailed rules of codified food labeling regulation.
     21 CFR 101.9
    Nutrition labeling of food
    Link  Specific link on the nutrition labeling rules.
    21 CFR 101.12   
    Reference amounts customarily consumed per eating occasion.
    Link Specific link on the new RACC rules.  Includes definition of new RACC amounts.
     21 CFR 101.9(c)(6)(i)
    Dietary Fiber Definition
    Link Dietary fiber is defined as non-digestible soluble and insoluble carbohydrates... (see regulation)


    Proposed Rules to Watch:

    Pending RuleLinkNotes
    Reference Amount Customarily Consumed for Flavored Nut Butter Spreads and Products That Can Be Used To Fill Cupcakes and Other Desserts, in the Labeling of Human Food Products; Request for Information and Comments Link This is in response for requests to amend serving size regulations and establish a RACC and product category for cupcake filling.  Comments must be received on or before January 3, 2017.


    Pending Questions Awaiting FDA Response:

    These are a compilation of questions we have asked the FDA and their responses so far.

    Is maltodextrin considered an added sugar? We have received many inquiries about whether maltodextrin is an added sugar.  We plan to address this topic in guidance that will be issued later this year or early next year.
    Are there specific rules in declaring quantitative amounts of vitamins and minerals?

    Reference Link

    We plan to issue guidance later this year or early next year that provides more information to assist manufacturers in determining how they should declare the quantitative amounts of vitamins and minerals on their labels.


    Compliance Dates

    If your company has more than $10 million of sales annually July 26, 2018
    If your company has less than $10 million of sales annually

    July 26, 2019

    Is a food manufacturer allowed to have any legacy products with the old nutrition facts labels on a grocery shelf on July 27th, 2018, or do they have to pull all products on the shelf with the old label?

    [FDA Response]

    Products that are labeled in production on or after July 26, 2018 (and July 26, 2019 for manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales) must affix a nutrition label that meets FDA’s new nutrition labeling requirements in 21 CFR 101.9 and 21 CFR 101.36.  Products that were labeled in production before July 26, 2018 (and July 26, 2019 for manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales) may continue to be shipped in interstate commerce, which includes being able to be shipped from a warehouse.  These products may also remain on store and warehouse shelves.

    FDA does not object to the use of a sticker for providing a revised nutrition label that meets our new requirements in 21 CFR 101.9 and 21 CFR 101.36 before new packaging is printed.  The sticker label should not cover any other mandatory information and should adhere to the package during normal handling.   


    Label Examples:

    Download Sample PDF Labels

    These labels are all generated using the Menutail system.  Notice that we are keeping the FDA preferred fonts of Helvetica for the best design continuity. 

    Label TypeDescriptionExample
    Vertical Most commonly used vertical label  
    Vertical Simplified Vertical label, but line items are removed when insignificant amounts occur (DV is less than 2%)
    Long Tab Label Tabular version
    Short Tab Label A version for smaller packaging
    Linear Label Text only label for the smallest packaging
    Vertical Dual Column Label This label is triggered when your serving size ratio is >200% and <= 300%
    Tabular Dual Column Label This label is triggered when your serving size ratio is >200% and <= 300%