Say Hello to Visible Calorie Labeling in Vending Machines

As a direct consequence of FDA Final rule for Vending Machine Calorie Declaration, companies are seeing that their vending machines are in danger of being non-compliant. The new regulations state that the total calories per package must be displayed for the customer before they purchase a product from a vending machine. The FDA has allowed for multiple options for displaying this information including front of package labeling, electronic displays, and signs placed on or next to the machine.

Companies that own or operate 20 or more vending machines and companies that own less than 20, but have voluntarily registered to be compliant with the new calorie declaration requirements must be in compliance by December 1, 2016. This includes vending machines that sell products without visible front of package calorie labeling, vending machines with electronic displays, and vending machines that sell unpackaged foods. The FDA has postponed the compliance date to July 26, 2018 for vending machines that will display front of package calorie labeling (in glass-front machines only) and for certain gums, mints, and roll candy sold in vending machines.

To be compliant under the new regulations, the calorie declaration for a packaged food must include the total calories present in the packaged food, regardless of whether the packaged food contains a single serving or multiple servings. The vending machine operator may voluntarily disclose calories per serving in addition to the total calories for the package.

Here are some options for displaying the calorie amount for covered vending machine foods:

1.       If the Nutrition Facts Panel is in the standard format, you can use it to display calories, serving size, and servings per container to the consumer. All of this information must be unobstructed and visible before purchase.

2.       You can reproduce the Nutrition Facts Panel and display it on the machine, next to the machine, or as an electronic display.

3.       The total number of calories per package can be displayed on the front of the product. This must be visible and easy to read in a type size at least 50% of the largest printed matter on the label with sufficient color and contrast to the background and other print on the label.

4.       The total calories per package can be placed on a sign in close proximity to the food or the selection button. This does not necessarily need to be attached to the machine, but the product and the calorie declaration need to be visible at the same time.

5.       For machines that do not have a glass front: If the machine only displays a picture or representation of the food item, the calorie declaration must be in close proximity to the selection button.

6.       You may use electronic displays to provide the calorie declaration as long as it is displayed before the consumer makes their purchase.

Here are a few other important parts of the regulations to keep in mind.

Here are a few other important parts of the regulations to keep in mind.

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