labelling

How the new CFIA labelling regulations can affect your operations

By Hannah van Teylingen

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Health Canada are stepping up their game with new food labelling regulations that are planned to kick in by 2024 and 2025. In today’s health-conscious world, these new regulations aim to enhance transparency, encourage smarter food choices, and make sure everyone – from foodies to families – is on the same page about what’s on their plates. The updated regulations need to be followed by restaurants so that they remain compliant, but also to make sure that their food’s nutritional content addresses guests’ desires for healthy choices on the menu.

RELATED: How menus are addressing diner demand for healthier choices

So, what updates have happened so far?

Front of Package (FOP Symbols)

Coming soon, you’ll start seeing new Front-of-Package (FOP) nutrition symbols on food packages, with a black-and-white magnifying glass icon that flags high levels of saturated fat, sodium, and sugar, designed to grab consumer attention and encourage healthier choices. For restaurants, nutrition label makers can help you assess whether the packaged food products you use in your kitchen need this symbol and encourage your chefs to use these items sparingly when making and creating new dishes.

New and improved serving sizes

Updated serving sizes have been amended to show how much people actually eat, instead of just displaying the ideal portion sizes. Plus, percentage daily values are now calculated based on a 2,000-calorie diet to give consumers a better sense of what they’re consuming in the grand scheme of their daily diet. Realistic serving sizes can help chefs and restaurateurs design menu items that align better with health guidelines, along with potentially encouraging smaller portion sizes, cutting restaurant costs and reducing food waste.

Sweeteners and added sugars

By January 2026, labels will need to differentiate between “naturally occurring” and “added sugars.” Additionally, sweeteners must be listed clearly, making it easier for anyone watching their sugar intake to make informed decisions. This transparency helps customers make informed choices, especially those with specific dietary restrictions like diabetes. For customers who come to your restaurant with these health conditions, it allows you to make them aware of what menu items are high in sugar, as well as potentially incentivizing the creation of dishes that have lower levels of sugar for this clientele.

Incorporating these updates in your menus 

These days, common icons found on menus includes indicators for dishes that are gluten-free, vegan, or spicy. But there are other ways that you can incorporate these changes in your establishment, satisfy your customers, and show them that they can trust you and your menus. You should also:

  • Educate your staff: Ensure that all team members are knowledgeable about the nutritional content of your dishes so they can communicate effectively with guests.
  • Utilize regulations as a marketing strategy: Consider using your commitment to transparency as a marketing tool. Promote your restaurant’s adherence to these new standards through social media, your website, and in-house promotions to attract more health-conscious diners.

Looking ahead

For chefs and restaurant operators, embracing these new CFIA food labelling regulations is an opportunity to lead in a competitive industry. By proactively checking and updating the food products that go into dishes, you will follow the new laws accordingly but also show a commitment to health and transparency for your customers. This not only aligns with modern dining trends but could position your restaurant as a number one choice for customers.

Food Label Maker is an online platform designed to help food manufacturers and businesses streamline the process of creating compliant nutrition labels. The platform offers tools and resources to simplify the complexities of nutritional information and create labels that meet the strict regulatory standards set forth by governing bodies. They have worked with many companies in the industry, helping them maintain trust with consumers and adapt swiftly to changes in food labelling regulations. For more information, you can visit their website at foodlabelmaker.com.