Integrating FDA Menu Labeling Requirements into Your Wellness Platform
By Monica Amburn, RD, LDN, Senior Director of Health and Wellness, Vestcom
It is hard to believe that we are almost through the first quarter of 2015! While we are all looking forward to the spring, and hopefully nicer weather across much of the country, we can’t forget that time is ticking – December 1, 2015 will be here before you know it. With that ushers a new era in calorie labeling requirements for single-serve and ready-to-eat items for the supermarket industry as mandated by the FDA. And while most of us are already working diligently to build out plans with our retailers to achieve QA and labeling compliance by December, are we also thinking about how to market and communicate these changes to our shoppers? After all, consumer education and awareness of nutrition content is at the heart of this new initiative, so your marketing and communication plans should receive just as much attention as the logistics of implementation. Right?
It may be hard to be in agreement with this statement right now, as the labeling implementation is indeed a daunting task for many of us. However, as you are working on your plans, and you have a better understanding of what the work flow is going to look like for your organization, now is the time to start collaborating with your marketing and public relations teams to build out a strategy for ways to communicate your menu labeling efforts in stores and in your communities. It is no secret to the general public that this mandate will take effect for restaurants and supermarkets this year, as the media has already latched on to the news of the regulation. But this could be a good opportunity for your retailer to leverage this national media buzz, and demonstrate to your shoppers and communities how your company is not only meeting the compliance for this regulation, but also how this labeling is consistent with your other health and wellness efforts.
So how can you integrate calorie labeling into your communications and wellness programs? Here are just a few ideas to get you started thinking of ways to make this more than just a mandate, and yet another ‘tool’ in your retailers wellness tool box!
Marketing & Communication Ideas for Calorie Labeling:
- Update wellness program materials to reflect how your retailer is listing calories in store
- Provide calorie information for ready to eat foods not just in store, but on your retailer’s website too
- Incorporate into your social media activities
- Leverage circular, in-store radio, and in-store demos to advertise and highlight new labeling
- Create themes with your fresh/deli departments, to highlight foods that fit into better-for-you calorie ranges
- “5 Deli Sandwiches under 500 calories”
- “Smart Salad Toppings – 25 calories or less per serving”
- Dinner combo ideas – “600 calories or less per meal - pick these 3 items (ex: sandwich, salad, fruit)
In conclusion, there is no time like the present to plan for a big splash with menu labeling in stores. While it may be a mandate, go ahead and make the most of this situation and demonstrate to your shoppers that your organization is not only in compliance, but also committed to making wellness easy, attainable, and maybe even entertaining in stores. So for the rest of 2015 - go forth, label calories, and don’t forget to be creative!
To learn more on how Vestcom can help your retailer achieve compliance with FDA Calorie Menu Labeling by December 1, 2015, email Monica at firstname.lastname@example.org.