rethinking the nutrition label

Nearly two decades ago Congress passed the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act, which required packaged foods to carry a detailed nutrition facts label. For the most part, the label has (what had been viewed as) an easy-to-follow format that lists calories, serving size and ingredients. That is, until people realized that it was neither easy to follow, or even all that accurate. Consumer advocacy groups, like the Center for Science in the Public Interest, has been pushing for an overhaul of the food label saying that it is necessary “to clarify and highlight important parts of the label and also to prevent unnecessary and misleading words from confusing consumers.” This article, published back in 2009, highlighted some of the group’s suggested changes.
Well, it seems that others are finally starting to pay attention.  While over at The Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity website I stumbled across this contest to redesign the food label, a project initiated by the University of California, Berkeley, School of Journalism. For food thinkers, nutritionists, designers, and the general public the objective was clear (Inspire better food and nutrition literacy with clear, simple, easy-to-understand labels) and the panel of judges famous.

Of the more than 60 (by my count) submissions, so many of which were inspiring and significant improvements over the old labels (pictured below), this one, by virtual designer Renee Walker, was judged the winner. Congratulations Renee.

So now, Congress, are you paying attention?

The old nutrition label (color added. They are not that pretty in real life).

Winner of the redesign.

Some other interesting (and just downright funny) submissions (see them all here):

What do you think about the Nutrition Label(s)? Do you use them? Do you think you understand them? If you could see them change, in what way?


One thought on “rethinking the nutrition label

  1. Appreciating the dedication you put into your blog and in depth information you offer. It’s great to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same out of date rehashed material. Fantastic read! I’ve saved your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.


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