It’s no secret to those in the food manufacturing industry that the FDA is pretty particular—especially when it comes to nutrition facts labels. Of course, they have the public’s best interests at heart, but making sure nutrition labels are compliant down to the last detail can be challenging for food manufacturers.
One of the most frustrating parts of the label creation process for those who are just starting out in the industry is understanding the nutrition facts label size requirements. From specific font sizes to label size and formatting guidelines, there is a lot to consider when it comes to your nutrition facts panel.
To make things simpler, let’s examine some of the FDA’s most important rules regarding font and label size/format, and explore an easy way of creating the perfect FDA-compliant nutrition label.
Nutrition Facts Label Size Requirements and Font Standards
Whether you’re just starting in the food manufacturing business or you have been in the game awhile, understanding FDA food labeling isn’t easy or intuitive. Sifting through the lengthy documents outlining nutrition facts label size and format requirements can be time-consuming, overwhelming, and somewhat confusing, so let’s break it down. Basically, when it comes to nutrition label size, there are two main things to consider: font size and label size/formatting.
Font Size Guidelines: Any label that does not meet the following font size requirements will be seen as “misleading” by the FDA, so it is important to adhere to these. Condensing a label is allowed, but be aware that the minimum font size requirements still apply. Here are some of the common guidelines every food manufacturer should be aware of:
- “Nutrition Facts” lettering must be bigger than any other font on the nutrition label (except for the numerical value for calories) and must span the length of the whole nutrition facts panel.
- The smallest font sizes that can be used on the nutrition facts label are 6 point (for the lettering below vitamins, minerals, and footnotes) and 8 point (for the rest of the label).
- “Calories” lettering must have a font size of at least 16 point (or 10 point for small packages).
Of course, the FDA has other more detailed font guidelines about font style and kerning, but generally speaking, these have to do with making sure your font is legible. Font size, however, is perhaps the most important to keep in mind because consumers have to be able to easily read your label.
Label Size/Format Guidelines: While there is no minimum label size for the nutrition facts panel per say, adhering to the minimum font size guidelines will ensure the nutrition label is large enough to be legible. In addition, the size of your packaging will help determine where your label must go and what format is most appropriate. Here are some basic guidelines for label placement and format based on the size of your packaging:
- For packages with a total surface area of 40 square inches or less, the nutrition label can go on any part of the package.
- For packages with more than 40 square inches of total surface area, the nutrition label must appear on the information panel, PDP, or somewhere within plain sight of the consumer.
- If the package has less than 3 inches of vertical space for nutrition labeling, you must use the tabular nutrition label format or the side-by-side format (with the vitamin and mineral panel to the immediate right of the nutrition facts).
In addition to tabular and side-by-side label formats, there are three other nutrition label formats—linear, horizontal, and standard—you may want to consider for your product. Remember, what you choose should depend on what is most legible for your particular packaging.
Label Creation Made Simple with Online Nutrition Analysis Software
While it is important to be aware of the specific FDA sizing and formatting guidelines for nutrition facts panels, it isn’t necessary to put your label together manually in order to meet them. Instead, you can create nutrition fact labels the easy way by using an FDA-compliant online nutrition analysis software and label generator that does the detailed work for you.
All you have to do is enter your recipe using ingredients from the USDA-compliant database of foods, and your label will be instantly generated with all the correct font sizing requirements set out by the FDA. This way, you don’t have to agonize over font size, style, or kerning.
You do, however, need to change your label format according to what works best for your packaging. Luckily, software like LabelCalc provides all five label formats for you to choose from, and switching from one to another can be done with a single click. You can even download and print labels in all the different formats to see which one works best with your particular package design.
Creating a nutrition facts label that complies with the FDA’s guidelines for label size and formatting doesn’t have to be as challenging as it seems. Using an FDA-compliant online nutrition analysis software and label generator, the process is simple and fast. It also happens to be the most affordable label-making option for food manufacturers, meaning you can spend less time, effort, and money on label creation and focus on what matters most to you about your food business. Plus, you can have peace of mind knowing your label will be perfectly sized and formatted for your particular product.
LabelCalc is proud to provide the most user-friendly and affordable FDA-compliant nutrition analysis software and label creation for food manufacturers. To begin making your nutrition labels today, contact us.