New nutrition labeling in Brazil creates opportunity for Smart Packaging

According to Anvisa, food companies must be aware of the deadlines for adaptation, with the aim of improving the clarity of information for consumers of their products

Edson Perin

Brazilian new rules for food labeling established by the Agência Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária (Anvisa), known as a kind of FDA (Food and Drug Administration, from USA), that came into force on Sunday, October 9, 2022, in addition to changes to the information table and the adoption of frontal nutrition labeling, open an opportunity for companies to make qualitative changes in the way they communicate with their consumers, adopting Smart Packaging solutions.

As for the new rules, the state agency Anvisa informs that it is important that companies are aware of the adaptation period. New products launched from October 9, 2022, must already have the appropriate labels for the new rules. For products that are already on the market to date, the deadlines for adaptation are as follows:

Edson Perin

• until October 9, 2023 (12 months from the effective date of the rule) for food in general;

• until October 9, 2024 (24 months from the effective date of the rule) for food manufactured by a family farmer or rural family entrepreneur, solidary economic enterprise, individual micro-entrepreneur, small agro-industry, artisanal agro-industry and food produced in an artisanal way; and

• until October 9, 2025 (36 months from the effective date of the standard) for non-alcoholic beverages in returnable packaging, observing the gradual process of replacing labels. The changes in labeling were established by the Resolution of the Collegiate Board of Directors – RDC No. 429 and Normative Instruction No. 75, published in October 2020. The objective of the standards is to improve the clarity and legibility of food labels and, thus, help the consumer to make more conscious food choices.

The new nutritional labeling requires a series of changes to the packaging, which favors the inclusion of elements that were not in the original versions, such as Digital Printing resources, QR Codes and even electronic tags, such as radiofrequency identification (RFID) or near field communication (NFC). These technologies take the packaging of the same products to a new, higher level of interaction with consumers.

Among the changes established by Anvisa, the nutritional information table of foods will have only black letters and a white background, with the aim of ruling out the possibility of using contrasts that hinder the readability of the information. Another change will be in the information provided in the table, with the declaration of total and added sugars, energy value and nutrients per 100 g or 100 ml becoming mandatory, to help in the comparison of products, as well as the number of servings per package.

In addition, the table must be located, in general, next to the list of ingredients and on a continuous surface, division is not accepted. It cannot be displayed in covered areas, deformed places or regions that are difficult to see. The exception only applies to products in small packages, with a labeling area of ​​less than 100 cm², in which the table can be presented in covered areas, as long as they are accessible.

The front nutrition label, considered the biggest innovation of the new rules, must appear on the front panel of the package, in order to clarify the consumer, in a clear and simple way, about the nutrients that are relevant to health. To this end, a magnifying glass design was developed to identify the high content of three main nutrients: added sugars, saturated fats and sodium. The symbol must be applied to the front of the package, at the top, as it is an area easily captured by the human eye.

Anvisa has made available on its portal the tools that can clarify doubts in relation to the new nutritional labeling rules. For more information click here.

As food packaging must already undergo all these transformations, the great opportunity for companies is to take advantage of this moment to introduce new elements that facilitate the use of Smart Packaging solutions. Solutions can, for example, provide product authenticity assurance, track and trace, improve customer experience and add sustainability initiatives.

The companies that take advantage of the mandatory opportunity to increase the functional efficiency of their packaging will certainly have a lot to celebrate in a short space of time.

Edson Perin is founder and editor of Netpress Books and the IoP Journal website.