Food & Beverage Industry: Vitamin X
February 15, 2018
To celebrate Exponent's 50th Anniversary, we created a book featuring our most notable projects from the last decade. Below is an example of our work in the Food & Beverage Industry.

Vitamin X: Calculating how best to represent Daily Values on the revised Nutrition Facts Panel.

Food labels in the United States currently feature the Nutrition Facts panel, which displays Daily Values (DVs) based on outdated Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs). The FDA planned to update DVs based on the newer Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs), but controversy surrounded the best method for calculating new DVs from the DRIs.

Fortified foods are a source of several important micronutrients, so changes in the DVs could alter the levels of fortification nutrients manufacturers add to foods. Using the assumption that manufacturers maintain the current percentage of the DVs for fortification nutrients, Exponent modeled intake of eight micronutrients. Using two potential methods for calculating DVs, our team identified potentially lower adequacy of intake of nutrients of concern for children and women of childbearing age under one scenario. Results from Exponent’s model helped inform decisions by the FDA to revise the DVs.

300,000 comments supplemented by several consumer studies made publicly available and new scientific recommendations, particularly for added sugars, led to the new final rule which became effective on July 26, 2016. Compliance dates are July 26, 2018 for large manufacturers and July 26, 2019, for small manufacturers.
VItamin X

What’s new in the current Nutrition Facts label. In May 2016, the FDA announced the new Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods to reflect new scientific information, including the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease, making it easier for consumers to make better informed food choices.

Vitamin X Graph

The DRI selected as the basis for updated DVs on the Nutrition Facts Panel could affect nutrient intake adequacy as demonstrated by Exponent modeling. The same level of fortification of select micronutrients based on the current percentage of the DV per serving was assumed in the models. In Model 1, the DV corresponds to the population-weighted Estimated Average Requirement (EAR); in Model 2, to the population coverage Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA).