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FDA Labeling Requirements

Just like we match a person’s name with their face, a distinctive wrapper is the way consumers will identify your food bar. When it comes to creating a label, emphasis is usually placed on finding the images and design that will be memorable and eye catching for your customers.

Yet, balancing graphics and nutritional information on your packaging is important when laying out your design. Although good graphics can help sell your product and increase brand awareness, providing the nutritional information for your bar is not only helpful to the consumer, but it is also required by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

Before you start planning out the design for your food bar wrapper, let’s take a look at what is and is not necessary to include on your labels.

Giving Your Bar an Identity

The majority of consumers pick up a food bar based on what they see on the front label. So naturally, the front label of a bar should clearly state the identity of the bar. To that end, the FDA requires that all front labels include:
Statement of Identity – If the product is a dark chocolate cherry bar, you do not want to call it a “Milk Chocolate Granola Bar.” The name on the packaging should accurately represent the product.

The net weight of the food bar itself in ounces or grams.

Making Your Claims

In order to make bars more enticing, manufacturers often make appealing claims about their products on the front label. This is an optional practice many companies employ; however, to reduce the amount of manufacturers who use false advertising to boost their sales, the FDA must validate certain claims made on a food bar’s packaging. Currently the FDA only regulates products claiming to be organic and, as of August 1, 2014, gluten free. If you plan on advertising that your food bar falls into either of these categories, you must receive third party certification before doing so. If you would like to learn more about the certification Element Bar’s provides, please see the certification section of our wholesale website.
As consumers fall in and out of love with health crazes, more and more manufacturers seek to showcase the healthy aspects of their food. Keeping in mind that you should never falsely advertise your product, the following unregulated claims, do not require approval or certification by the FDA:
  • Products that claim to be “All Natural”
  • Products that do not contain any GMO (genetically modified organism)
  • Products that claim to be “vegan” or “dairy free.”

The Supporting Information

If you found yourself with a lot of space left over on the front label, have no doubt that your back label will more than make up for it. The back label is the area where most of the FDA guidelines come into play. The image below shows all of the necessary information for the back of your wrapper. Let’s briefly explore each of these requirements.

The Nutritional Panel

This will likely take up the most space on your label. Depending on your product you will have a couple of options with the layout of the panel. It will typically be horizontal, and in either text or a table format.

Ingredient list

All ingredients of your food bar must be listed in this area. This includes any sub ingredients. For example, if you used honey roasted peanuts, you must list the honey as well instead of just listing the peanuts. However, if you use peanut butter as well as plain peanuts, you can simply list peanuts. When listing natural and artificial flavors, you do not have to separate each ingredient. For instance, if your product contains both natural strawberry and blueberry flavor, you may simply state “natural flavors” on the package. This applies to artificial flavors as well.

An Allergy Statement

Also called a contained statement (as in “This product may contain…”), an allergy statement helps cut down on a manufacturer’s liability. The following types of foods are required to be mentioned in an allergy statement:
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Fish, including crustacean shellfish
  • Tree nuts, which can encompass all nuts except for peanuts. All nuts should be listed by name.
  • Peanuts (listed separately from tree nuts)
  • Wheat
  • Soybeans

Manufacturer’s Information

The only required information is the city, state, and zip code of the manufacturer.

The Best Buy Date

While the best buy date is required, it should be noted that the date is not set in stone. If you would like more information on the shelf life of a product, please see the shelf life section of our wholesale website.

Bonus Information

Once you have managed to get all of the required information on your back label, and if you are feeling generous, you can put some optional information on the wrapper.

Additional “May Contain” statement

As the name implies, your “may contain” statement is used for food items that your bars might have come in contact with. If you know your bars were manufactured somewhere that peanuts are used, even if the bar itself is not made with peanuts, you might add that it may contain peanuts in case of accidental contamination. While this act is a nice courtesy to your consumers, it will not provide you with additional liability protection.

More Contact Information

Should you feel a strong need to hear from your consumers, you may want to include additional contact information like phone number, email, or website address.

A UPC

Your Company’s Story

Many companies use this as a way to help their customers form a more personal attachment to their product. If space allows for it, it can be a useful marketing tool.