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Dietary Supplement Labeling 101

June 4, 2019

Today's consumers have access to more information about their personal health than ever -- and it's an area that requires concern. Approximately 38% of consumers say they use nutrient content claims often when making a purchase, which means they care about whether a product contains fat, fiber, cholesterol, and other ingredients. In many cases, consumers will supplement the food products they buy with vitamins and dietary supplements, which promise to improve health and close the nutritional gaps they might otherwise experience.

But unlike the products you might package with pharmaceutical labels, these products are classified differently. They aren't completely medicinal, meaning that they aren't subject to the same pharmaceutical labeling requirements that prescriptions and over-the-counter treatments are. However, they're not categorized as food either, meaning that you won't be able to utilize the same rules you're used to when dealing with labels for food products.

Dietary supplements are an entirely separate area subject to different regulations. In today's post, we'll discuss what you'll need to know when creating these types of labels for your business.

Defining Dietary Supplements

Let's first talk about what dietary supplements are. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration defines dietary supplements as products that are intended to be ingested but that are not considered to be conventional food items or used as a meal or meal replacement. Instead, they are edible products that are intended to supplement the consumer's diet. They will also contain one or more of the following:

  • A mineral
  • A vitamin
  • An herb or botanical
  • An amino acid
  • A concentrate, extract, metabolite, or a substance used to increase total dietary intake (or a combination of all ingredients named above)

That means that many of the products consumers consider to be shelved "in the vitamin aisle" or as homeopathic remedies may technically be considered dietary supplements by the FDA. Although they can provide health benefits, they are not considered to be medications and are truly intended to act as a complement to an individual's diet.

Essential Label Statements for Dietary Supplements

When creating these types of labels for your business, you'll need to remember to include specific information. Dietary supplement labels must include:

  • The name of the dietary supplement (known as the statement of identity)
  • The amount of dietary supplement included and its ingredients (called the net quantity of contents statement)
  • Nutrition labeling (or the supplement facts panel)
  • The ingredients list
  • Information for the manufacturer, packer, and/or distributor.

All of these required statements must be placed on the front label panel, which is sometimes called the principal display panel, or the information panel, which is usually to the right of the principal display panel. This is so that this pertinent information can easily be seen by the consumer when the product is displayed on the shelf.

You will need to include information on nutrients including calories, fats, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, fiber, sugar, protein, vitamins, and more when they exist in measurable amounts (i.e., anything that exceeds an amount declarable as "zero").

If you make any claims pertaining to other ingredients or nutrients, you must also include these on dietary supplement labels for your business, even if those nutrients are not typically required for all products.

Other Requirements for Dietary Supplement Labeling

Only the most essential information may be presented on the principal display label (PDP), while additional information may be included on other parts of the packaging or labeling.

You must also take care to use specific font sizes when creating these labels for your business. The type size on the ingredients list must be at least one-sixteenth inch in height for legibility purposes.

On the supplement facts portion of the label, the panel should be surrounded by a box and the title should be larger and bolder than all other print. Typically, upper and lower case letters are used.

Generally, letters used cannot be more than three times as high as they are wide (though exemptions may be granted) and lettering must sufficiently contrast with the background.

Although black and white labels are the most common as a result, there may be other options available to you.


When creating dietary supplement labels for your business, compliance is key. To learn more about how we can help you create dynamic labels that follow industry regulations, please contact us today.

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