One of the most important changes that the food and beverage industry experienced in 2020, was the new front labeling. At the end of March of that year, the Mexican Government published in the Official Gazette of the Federation, the Official Mexican Standard 051, a new regulation that aims to make consumers know, in a simple and clear way, the content of the products they are consuming.
Under this new standard, in addition to the regulatory labeling, the new labels have the informative octagons that we now all know, with which information is provided about the content of the product: energy content, nutrients, ingredients and components whose excess in the diet can be harmful to health; In addition, the use of characters – cartoons, athletes, pets or celebrities – has been eliminated as a promotion strategy for any product that contains at least one octagon.
Since the publication of NOM-051, the logistical challenges involved in labeling products that were already in circulation and that can maintain a long life time were noted. The business sector sought to postpone its entry into force due to the costs that such label changes would imply; Also, Concamin and the Business Coordinating Council have alleged that the new labels infringe industrial property and threaten commercialization. Despite these nonconformities, NOM-051 will be applied in the following stages:
- First phase: from October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2023, in which the nutritional information of the products will be evaluated.
- Second phase: from October 1, 2023 to September 30, 2025, time in which it will be evaluated if the products have reduced the amount of elements that could harm health.
- Third phase: From October 1, 2025 onwards, where the monitoring of the products will continue.
For companies, it is crucial to have strategic partners who help them face this new regulation endorsed by various institutions worldwide; from the label design process, to the labeling, distribution and final shipment to the customer of the products, in order to avoid their immobilization and cause fines or losses in their sales.