What's in a serving?

Amy posted this in our Consumer 101 Facebook group, and wrote:

"Since it says on the front of your “Perfect Servings” box that it has 2-4 servings, it be more useful to identify servings per package as 2 or 4 on the Nutrition Information panel instead of 6...This defeats the purpose of nutritional labeling, and most likely means that a person will unknowingly consume many more calories than intended or desired when sharing this coffee cake because of the misrepresentation of servings per package in your “Perfect “Servings” products."



Charlotte says:

This disconnect between the language on the label and the details on the Nutrition Facts panel sure does require some mental math. This is a perfect example of the fact that some parts of a food label are regulated and standardized, while other spaces on the package are still open for companies to make unregulated claims. In this case, they actively conflict!

The serving size specified in the Nutrition Facts panel is required by the FDA to be standardized, which means it’s not up to the company to decide. This is a good thing, because if you’re in the store comparing the numbers on two equivalent products, you want the serving sizes to be equivalent to enable you to make a quick comparison. But as we see here, this company used the unregulated part of the label to communicate to consumers what they think a “perfect” serving looks like, even though it conflicts with the FDA-regulated serving size in the Nutrition Facts Panel.

When it comes to cake mixes -- a food high in calories and added sugars, you certainly want to be able to compare between like products. But in this case, you are now required to pull out your calculator to compare two claims on the same label. And what’s worse, if a consumer doesn’t check  the serving size in the Nutrition Facts panel, they may think they’re getting a lower-calorie and lower-sugar dessert.

(an interesting aside: Also, this product is using the old Nutrition Facts panel. The Nutrition Facts panel and accompanying serving sizes were updated recently, and companies have until January 1, 2020 to comply.)