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Supplement vs. Nutrition Facts Panels

Beverage Regulations FDA Fact Panels

One thing often overlooked when developing a new beverage is the difference between having a Supplement or Nutrition Facts Panels. Both have their own set of benefits, drawbacks, and requirements.

Being aware of which one your beverage will require can help you better prepare your sales and marketing strategy for down the road.

 

SUPPLEMENT FACTS PANEL

The Supplement Facts Panel is used for products considered to be dietary supplements.  These types of products make any of the following claims not pre-approved by the FDA:

  • Functional Claims
    • Any claim describing the role of a nutrient or dietary ingredient intended to affect the normal function of the human body or claims that characterize how a nutrient or dietary ingredient acts to maintain such function of the human body.
    • Example: “Calcium builds strong bones.”
  • General Well-Being Claims
    • Claims describing the general well-being from consumption of a nutrient or dietary ingredient. It must not refer to any disease.
    • Example: “Contributes to good health.”
  • Nutrient Deficiency Claims
    • Claims that describe a benefit related to a nutrient deficiency disease. These types of claims must also say how widespread the disease is in the US.
    • Example: “Vitamin C prevents Scurvy.”

If making these claims, the brand owner must have substantiation that the claim is truthful and not misleading.Beverage Supplement Fact Panel

For liquid supplements, the liquid must meet 100% of the label claims. There are no regulations on the amount of overages that are allowed in dietary supplements. Many dietary supplements add 150% overages in their product to ensure that the liquid still meets the label claim at the end of shelf life.

 

Advantages

  1. Able to make claims about your beverage and its benefits.
  2. Allowed to list the source of a dietary ingredient.
  3. More details are allowed on the facts panel.
  4. It can set you apart from competition as a dietary supplement.

Disadvantages

  1. Limited positioning for shelf space. Might be required to be in the dietary supplements section of a store, as opposed to the beverage section.
  2. Must make sure labels claims are met at the end of shelf life.
  3. Not permitted to list "zero" amounts of nutrients.
  4. Must test every batch of finished product to verify supplement facts and claims are correct. This can be costly and time consuming.

 

NUTRITION FACTS PANEL

The Nutrition Facts Panel contains the nutritional information of a product and is required on most packaged food in many countries.  

In the United States, all food ingredients stated in the Nutrition Facts Panel must be listed as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) and meet any stated restrictions or ingredients must be self-affirmed GRAS. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintains a list of Substances Affirmed as GRAS in Food as stated in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. While a self-affirmed GRAS ingredient is proven by the manufacturer to have GRAS status with an independent review.  

A Nutrition Facts Label must conform to the following standards:

  • It must show the following information: Serving Size, Calories, Total Fat, Sodium, Carbohydrates, and Protein.
  • Some nutrients that can be suppressed if they are zero: Calories from Fat, Saturated Fat, Trans Fat, Cholesterol, Fiber, Sugars, Vitamins A and C, Calcium, and Iron. If these are suppressed, a statement must be included at the bottom of the label.
  • Products containing 50 calories or less can round to the nearest 5 calorie increment. Products containing more than 50 calories must round to nearest 10-calorie Beverage Nutrition Fact Panelincrement. If product contains less than 5 calories, it can be labeled as zero or the nearest 5 calorie increment.

It is important to note that caffeine cannot be included on the nutrition facts label, but must be declared elsewhere.

Advantages

  1. Allowed to position product with other beverages.
  2. Not required to test every batch produced.

Disadvantages

  1. Not allowed to make any claims about your beverage.
  2. Cannot list the source of any dietary ingredient.
  3. Significantly larger competitive pool of other beverages with Nutrition Fact Panels.

If you have questions or concerns on which type of label your beverage will require, don’t hesitate to contact us.