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Experts: Food Labeling on Verge of Big Changes

Worldwide organic food sales are now more than six times larger than they were in 1999, according to Statista.

And food brands have taken note.

Food-certification labels like “USDA organic” are everywhere at supermarkets these days. Labeling with phrases like “fair-trade certified” and “non-GMO” have also become ubiquitous at grocery stores. And there’s good reason for that, too; according to 2021 research conducted by GlobeScan, for example, shoppers are willing to pay more for fair-trade products and 80% of consumers would feel more positive about a brand if it started carrying the fair-trade seal.

Attaining a certification “really does help a brand’s reputation and improves their sales,” Michael Nova, director of Nova Custom Printing, told The Food Institute.

“If (brands’) leading competitors are all organic- and fair-trade certified, then in order to compete it’s certainly worth the cost of certification,” added Nova, whose company has provided branding solutions to food manufacturers since 1995. To attain USDA organic certification, for example, is around $1,000, depending on the type of company, he said.

“Investing (in) those claims helps brands gain trial with retailers,” said Mark Saylor, senior brand manager at Farmer Focus. “But they still have to have a solid product or consumers will ultimately reject it.”

The topic of food labeling is discussed extensively in this month’s Food Institute report, available to members November 16 (to join FI, click here).

Another food-labeling topic to watch involves the debate over proposed front-of-pack nutritional labeling in the U.S.

President Biden’s administration wants to make “traffic-light nutrition labels” mandatory on the front of food packaging, as noted by The Guardian. During the White House conference on hunger, nutrition, and health held September 28, it was announced that the U.S. Health and Human Services and the Food and Drug Administration will conduct research and propose a standardized front-of-package labeling system to help consumers quickly and easily identify foods that are part of a healthy eating pattern, as reported by Food Business News

“We have already seen front-of-pack nutritional labeling on some of Nova Custom Printing’s clients’ products already,” Nova said. “And we do believe this practice will grow in the next decade, especially with the general public moving in a more health-conscious direction.”