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Small Scale Food Businesses Consider Whether Nutritional Labeling is Worth the Investment

Most food manufacturers are required to label products with nutritional information, but those who aren’t required must decide whether to do it anyway.

Who is required and who isn’t?

Nutrition Facts is a specific label format that uses a standard serving measurement and lists the amount of calories and specific nutrients in the food. The Nutrition Facts label was mandated under the 1990 Nutritional Education and Labeling Act.

Any packaged food product (except meat) manufactured by a company with $500,000 or less in annual sales is exempt from providing the label – unless the product makes some type of a health or nutrition claim. (Such as the food product being low in fat or high in fiber).

If I’m not required, what factors should I consider to decide whether to do it anyway?

Many consumers expect to see the label on all foods, and therefore it may be important to take the extra step to provide this information even if it isn’t a requirement. A study conducted by the NPD Group, a leading market research company, asked consumers their level of agreement with the statement, “I frequently check labels to determine whether the foods I buy contain something I’m trying to avoid.” Of survey respondents, 52 percent agreed with this statement.

Also, some grocery stores have a policy of requiring the label on food products, and if businesses wish to market their products to those stores, it may be a good investment.

© 2017 Varnum LLP


About this Author

Aaron M. Phelps, Varnum, corporate governance disputes attorney, telecommunications lawyer

Aaron's practice is primarily focused on commercial litigation - in Michigan and around the country. His practice includes complex contract and corporate governance disputes, telecommunications and energy matters, and health care litigation. Most recently Aaron has been representing over 60 companies in lawsuits against Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan for ERISA violations (first trial resulted in $6 million judgment).

Aaron also has expertise in the environmental area, having defended civil enforcement proceedings, conducted contested case...