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Clear Food Labeling: Empowering Consumers to Make Informed Purchasing Decisions

Consumers are increasingly looking for healthier and more sustainable food options, and plant-based milk alternatives (PBMA) have become a popular choice for many. However, with so many different products on the market, it can be challenging for consumers to navigate the many different labels and claims. Clear food labeling is critical to help consumers make informed purchasing decisions and understand what they are buying.


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently issued guidance on the labeling of PBMA products to provide consumers with more transparent and accurate information. The FDA acknowledges that the common or usual names of some PBMA have been established by common usage, and these names include “soy milk” and “almond milk.” While these products are not derived from dairy milk, they are commonly used as a milk substitute and marketed as such.

The FDA recommends that PBMA products that are labeled with the term “milk” in their names, such as “soy milk” or “almond milk,” and that have a nutrient composition that is different than milk, include a voluntary nutrient statement that conveys how the product compares with milk based on the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) fluid milk substitutes nutrient criteria. These statements will help consumers make informed dietary choices when it comes to understanding certain nutritional differences between plant-based products that are labeled with “milk” in their names and milk.

For example, a voluntary nutrient statement on a container of almond milk could read: “Compared to dairy milk, this product contains fewer calories, less fat, and no cholesterol.”

If a PBMA is not labeled with “milk” as part of its name, but instead is labeled with another term like “beverage” or “drink” and does not make a claim comparing the product to milk, then the voluntary nutrient statement recommendations in the draft guidance do not apply. However, the FDA encourages manufacturers to provide clear and accurate information about the nutritional content of their products to help consumers make informed decisions.

Clear food labeling is essential to help consumers make informed choices about the food they purchase and consume. By providing clear information about the nutritional content and composition of PBMA products, consumers can make better-informed decisions about what they buy and consume. As more consumers turn to plant-based alternatives, it is critical that manufacturers provide transparent labeling that helps consumers understand what they are buying and the nutritional value of these products.

In conclusion, clear food labeling empowers consumers by providing them with accurate and transparent information about the food they are purchasing. The FDA’s recommendations regarding the labeling of PBMA products will help consumers make informed decisions about their dietary choices, and encourage manufacturers to provide clear and accurate information about their products. With more accessible and transparent labeling, consumers can make informed decisions about the food they purchase and consume, leading to a healthier and more sustainable food system for all.


If you are looking to make informed decisions about your dietary choices and need further guidance, it's recommended to visit a registered dietitian. A registered dietitian, like myself can provide you with personalized advice and support to help you achieve your dietary goals. By combining expert advice with clear and transparent food labeling, you can make informed decisions about the food you purchase and consume, leading to a healthier and more sustainable food system for all.





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