How to Read and Avoid Confusing Baby Food Packaging Labels
For the first six months of their life, infants depend solely on baby formula or breast milk as a source of nourishment. At around four to six months, many infants begin displaying signs of wanting to start feeding on solid meals.
However, this exciting new phase for the infant may bring up many questions and apprehensions for new parents. They may be worried about how to discern when their little one is ready to transition to solid foods, food safety concerns, developing a good relationship with food, and how to prepare the right foods to prevent choking.
Other concerns include determining how much to feed your baby and understanding the Nutrition Facts Label.
Nutrition Facts Label For Baby Food
Foods sold particularly for babies or children aged 1 to 3 years old, aside from baby formula, feature special Nutrition Facts panels. If you’ve seen these, you’ve probably discovered that they don’t look exactly like the labels on food products for older children and adults. While much of the material is the same, there are a few differences to note.
1. Percent Daily Values
The percent Daily Value (%DV) measures how much of a nutrient is contained in a serving and how much it contributes to the daily total. It’s a quick way to see if a food has a lot or a few of the nutrients mentioned. A%DV of 5 or less per serving is regarded as low, while a%DV of 20% or more is deemed high.
Some nutrients, such as total fat, vitamin D, protein, carbohydrate, and the minerals iron, potassium, calcium, will be listed on food labels for babies and toddlers. The rest of the nutrients do not have a %DV.
The footnote explaining how to interpret the %DV is another significant difference. On foods for infants, there will be no footnote. Food labels for children aged 1 to 3 years, on the other hand, will state that the typical dietary guideline for this age group is 1,000 calories per day.
2. Serving Size
The serving size on a Nutrition Facts Label is not intended to suggest how much a child or adult should consume, as some consumers may be surprised to find. Serving sizes for baby and toddler foods are assessed on the basis amount of food consumed in a single sitting.
These foods are only recommended for infants under the age of 12 months. It applies to toddlers aged one to three years old. Serving sizes for foods marketed to older children and adults are calculated based on the average quantity of food consumed in one sitting.
Confusing Baby Food Packaging Labels
A recent US study has revealed that there is a disconnect between front panel labels and ingredients of food products containing fruits and veggies. These labels often make it hard for parents to know what exactly they are feeding their infants and toddlers. This study’s conductors emphasize the importance of healthcare professionals and nutritionists coming together to help parents navigate the baby food market.
Dr. Mackenzie Ferrante of Colorado State University’s department of food science and human nutrition says, “Our hope is that nutrition educators will note differences between the ingredients list and the front label of the package.” He adds that many parents rely on the information on the front panel of food packages to decide on their purchases.
In agreement, Dr. Susan Johnson of the department of pediatrics, a section of nutrition, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, adds, “We want the front of the packages – where vegetables might be listed – to accurately represent the primary ingredients, and even the flavor, of the product.”
She also insists on product package labels having more transparency so that caregivers and parents can easily purchase the food they want their young children to learn to eat during family meals.
How to Improve The Current Situation
As a manufacturer in the baby food industry, you can take extra steps to ensure that your packaging labels follow all requirements. You can achieve this by having your labels designed and printed by a professional label printing company that is well-versed with the creation and proper layout of valuable information on primary and secondary labels. They will ensure all materials they are using for your baby food product are high quality and do not compromise the benefits of the contents.