Get Ahead of the NLEA Transition

With the new FDA nutritional labeling change on the horizon, many companies are starting to think about how they will manage this overwhelming task while still staying ahead of the game. I had the opportunity to speak with a few companies and I wanted to share my takeaways with you.

Perhaps the biggest concern around this transition is cost, and I mean COST, in all caps. The sheer volume of items that are going to have to be changed – the internal reformulations, label design, prepress and printing – will be an undertaking that the entire industry will have to endure.

In my many conversations with manufacturers, they seem to feel that they will have little to no control over the cost of this change because they will be mandated to use providers that the retailers they supply for dictate.

I have sat on both sides of the table when it comes to buying and selling creative services. I know that we insisted that manufacturers use our chosen vendors and pay the fees that we required when I was on the retail side of things. I also know that we did that a decade ago when the industry was in a much different place. I understand what a cost burden it can be on the manufacturer to not be able to take advantage of the trusted relationships they have with their vendors and gain efficiencies to ultimately save money.

So I know this may ruffle a few feathers but I need to be a little candid. We are not serving the same customer that we served a decade ago. The customer today is more savvy and knowledgeable and fickle. Today, our customers demand transparency, value, quality and a fair price.

The increased costs that will be incurred for this transition will ultimately end up in the cost of goods and in the end it is the customer who will be responsible for paying them. We need to respect and honor our customers no matter what side of the desk we are on and make sure that we do everything we can to find efficiencies and cost savings in this transition.

We are 30 months away, which makes now is the perfect time to start thinking about the transition and answering crucial questions about your packaging design and supply chain. Here are a few questions to take into consideration as we approach the compliance date:

  • Where are your assets? Do you have them or is someone else storing them for you?
  • Who owns your assets? Are you free to get them whenever you want or do you have to pay a fee to recover them?
  • Where is your photography located?
  • Is it easily searchable?
  • Who has all of your nutritional information and ingredients? Are the formulations current and do they meet regulation?
  • Who is your prepress partner? Who is your print partner and when was the last time you met with them to discuss this upcoming change?

There are so many more questions to ask.

If you begin to prepare now, you and your team will be much better off in the long run.  Reach out to your current team, and if your current team isn’t able to help you, look for new partners that can.

What other questions have you answered? How have you started to prepare for the transition? Share your tips in the comment box below!