Nutrition Label Getting a Design Overhaul?

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition

A reader sent me a link to a NY Times blog post about a project being done by the University of California at Berkeley of designing a better food label. While this project is not officially a part of the redesign effort, it has brought in a ton of new ideas that the FDA will likely consider.

The panel of judges included Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma; the consumer health activist Michael Jacobson; Dr. Robert Lustig, a San Francisco pediatrician and fructose extremist; Laura Brunow Miner, a San Francisco graphic designer; and Andrew Vande Moere, a Belgian design professor.

Here is the winning label design from this competition:

I do think that Food Labels need an overhaul, but it is going to be difficult to make one that pleases everybody. Just because a snack is high in fat does not mean it is unhealthy or needs a red flag. Other label designs assigned letter grades or used the Glycemic Index, which I don’t necessarily think will work either. The GI is rather irrelevant, and letter grades are too arbitrary. Who is going to determine the criteria for grading?

On top of that, the label is currently in black and white, and very cheap to print. Creating these beautiful brightly colored labels might be more attractive, but they will most certainly be more expensive, and in reality, will they be any more helpful?

Check out that blog and the other entries and let me know what you think!

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Posted on August 4th, 2011 by Brian St. Pierre

1 Comment

  1. Jeff Says:

    Another great blog! I find your blogs are always great but the last few have been very interesting! My take on food labels is that if you are reading one with the majority of the food you are purchasing then your probably not purchasing enough real food. Personally if I buy something and there is a food label I only really look at a few things so if i had it my way I would probably only list the following:

    Sugar:
    Trans Fat:
    Omega 6: (or some type of measure of Inflammation)
    Ingredients:

    Keep up the great work!

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