What Changes Were Made To The New 2020 Nutritional Labels?

The Updated 2020 Nutritional Label
The Updated 2020 Nutritional Label

Are you trying to eat healthier? Or maybe you just want to better understand the ingredients in the foods you are buying?

The new 2020 Nutrition labels on food can help, if you know the correct way to read them.

If you have not seen the updated label in stores yet, just open your pantry and take a look. The labels are different. Or click here to see some examples of the different labels.

Before these new changes to the labels arrived, Food labels were basically the same as 20 years ago. But many things have changed with consumers, habits, and trends since then. Lets take a look at the new food labels below and see what has changed.

Nutritional labels are not the only labels getting an update recently, Food date labels have also got a new label refresh in the coming years. Custom printed labels have been a topic of increasingly scrutiny lately with more regulations to protect consumers.

Food manufacturers making over $10 million in sales have until Jan 1st, 2020 to start using the updated nutrition labels. Manufacturers who have less than $10 million in sales have until January 1st, 2021 to implement the new labels.

So What Changed?

Whats Different?
Whats Different?


Well for one the serving size is larger and more bold. The updated daily values have been updated, along with the newly added ‘added sugars’ row. The calories is larger, and also shows a per serving row, and a per container row.


The Old Nutrition Label Vs The Updated 2020 Nutritional Label

The old label is pictured on the left and is still being used for many food labels. The new label is on the right and will soon replace the old labels. The new portions sizes are also more relevant to what we eat today, not 20 years ago. For example, the old label shows vitamins A and C, which is now gone. On the new nutritional labels you will see vitamin D and potassium, something us Americans have not been getting a lot of apparently.


Serving Size

The recent label update on food containers includes a new side by side comparison for ‘per serving’ and ‘per container’ to help clarify the nutritional serving size of the food product. Because many times consumers do not do the multiplication. For example, On the old ingredient labels you had to multiply the sugars by the amount of serving size to find the real total of sugar in the food product. Now you can just look at the ‘per container’ chart to find that answer. These new custom labels should easily help consumers better identify how healthy, or how harmful food is. Doctors agree that the numbers are important, but advise that the ingredient list is even more important.

“The new display of both calories per serving and calories per container will help consumers better understand how many servings, and therefore calories, they are truly eating,” Says Caroline West Passerrello, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

“This increased awareness may help with portion control, but of course we will need studies to determine if this is an actual impact” says Kirkpatrick. Meanwhile, consumers can use the updated labels to help make better decisions for eating healthy foods.



The new labels also separate ‘natural sugars’ from ‘added sugars’. This is important because you can see how much added sugars have been included into the food.

“Consumers have been provided guidance from [the World Health Organization and the American Heart Association] and other organizations on the limit of added sugars per day, yet most consumers have no idea how to calculate this,” Kirkpatrick says.

Raw fruits, vegetables, and seafood are exempt from these custom labels and do not need them.  Other exempt food products that require additional ingredients like pancake mixes, which are made with eggs and water, and cereal that is paired with milk. Doctors in various studies agree that added sugars are not good for the human body, and should try to be avoided as much as possible.

The American Heart Association says that consumer should limit the amount of added sugar ate to not more than 50% of your daily discretionary calorie allowance. If you try to calculate this the next time you are at the grocery store, and this is the exact problem the FDA is trying to fix today.

For example, before the new labels came out, if you drank a smoothie beverage, there is no way to see how much of that drink had natural sugars in it, and how much sugar was artificially added. With the updated nutritional label this has stopped that problem. Because the new labels show how much added sugar there is, and the total of sugars. If you subtract the difference this is how much added sugar is in the food or drink. This makes things a lot simpler for consumers.

Passerrello says the top three added sugar sources in the American diet are:

  1. Sugar sweetened beverages like soft drinks, fruit drinks, soda, coffee, tea, energy drinks and beer.
  2. Snacks and sweets like dairy desserts, candies, sugars, jams, and syrup.