The FDA has issued a 30-day procedural notice on the preliminary quantitative consumer research it plans to conduct on voluntary symbols that could be used in the future to convey the nutrient content claim “healthy.”
According to the notice, the FDA will be conducting consumer research on a potential symbol, which is intended to be a stylized representation of the nutrient content claim “healthy,” while at the same time developing a proposed rule that would update when manufacturers may use the “healthy” nutrient content claim on food packages. The agency intends to publish the proposed rule with the definition update soon.
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To explore consumer responses to the draft front-of-pack “healthy” symbols, the FDA will conduct two consecutive quantitative research studies. The first study will be a web-based survey that focuses on the aesthetic features of the symbols, such as clarity, relevance, and appeal. A controlled, randomized experiment, the second study will use a 15-min web-based questionnaire to collect information from 5,000 U.S. adult members of an on-line consumer panel. The panel will view label images on mock food products and respond to various measures of the symbol’s effectiveness.
The update to the definition and study of a potential symbol for the “healthy” nutrient content claim are part of the FDA’s broader efforts to help reduce the burden of diet-related chronic diseases and advance health equity. Updating labeling and making it more accessible helps empower consumers. In particular, claims and symbols can help consumers better understand nutrition information and identify foods that contribute to a healthy eating pattern. Manufacturers may also reformulate products to improve their nutritional value so they can use the claim.
Comments on the notice are due Wednesday, April 27, 2022.