The Impact of Nutrition Warning Labels in Latin America

Explore the latest developments and implementations of nutrition warning labels in Latin America

March 1 , 2024 – Several Latin American countries have introduced nutrition warning labels for F&B packaging. These nutrition warning labels focus primarily on the content of sugar, fat, and sodium in various food products in order to help consumers identify unhealthy products.  

The Impact of Nutrition Warning Labels in Latin America 

Consumer trends show that more than four out of five consumers in Latin America are at least somewhat influenced by warning labels on food and beverage products. Over half of consumers say that warning labels would help them follow a healthy diet and over one-third would use warning labels for weight loss. 

Consumers would be willing to make compromises on sweetness, saltiness, and even taste to purchase foods and beverages with fewer warning labels. In some countries, consumers say that warning labels led them to eat more or less of particular foods, or to pick a different product. Warning labels are especially essential when consumers are shopping for children. 

At the same time, Innova’s consumer insights shows that a majority of Latin American consumers do not fully trust regulations to make sure that claims are used correctly. This is above the global average. 

Consumer Interest in Healthy Foods and Beverages  

Consumers in Latin America at least match the global average for interest in health. However, consumers in several countries are above the global average for taste and taste is the factor that drives food and beverage purchases most. So while health is important, consumers may be reluctant to compromise on taste.  

Half of Latin American consumers say that health benefits are what should influence the development of new foods and beverages. A high percentage also acknowledges the importance of natural ingredients. Consumers associate the term ‘clean label’ with natural and healthy foods and beverages, and consumer trends show that Latin American consumers are willing to pay more for products that have a clean label.  

Warning Labels

Warning Labels Trends in Argentina 

Octagonal black nutrition warning labels on food and beverage packages were approved in Argentina in 2021. Warning labels appear most on bakery products, as well as on meat, fish and eggs. Sodium and fat are the top warning labels. Warnings about total fat and saturated fat are on one-quarter of meat, fish and eggs launches. Sodium warnings appear on a high proportion of dairy launches while sugar warnings are seen on soft drinks and spreads. 

However, consumer research shows that Argentinians are not very trusting of regulatory labeling and do not think that labels reflect healthy foods and beverages. Excess sugar warnings still affect Argentinians most, followed by warnings about saturated fat.  

Chilean Warning Labels Were Implemented in 2019 

In Chile, warning labels are prominent on bakery products and on meat, fish and eggs. Sodium and fat are the top warnings. Sweet categories like confectionery, desserts, ice cream, and bakery often have warnings about calories, sugar and saturated fat. Sodium warnings are prevalent on meat, fish, and eggs and on sauces and seasonings. According to Chilean consumer trends, half of Chilean food and beverage purchases are affected by sugar and saturated fat. 

Warning Labels Enforcement New in Brazil 

The Brazilian warning labels and related nutrition label rules for foods and beverages have been enforced since 2023, with warning labels about sugar and saturated fat most common in confectionery. 

Consumer trends show that three-quarters of Brazilians trust that regulated package labels are accurate for identifying healthy foods and beverages. Saturated fat warnings most influence purchases by Brazilian consumers.   

Colombia Introduces Octagonal Nutrition Warning Labels 

Colombia switched from circular to octagonal nutrition warning labels in 2023.  Nearly three-quarters of confectionery products and one-quarter of bakery products have a nutrition warning label. Sugar warnings are found in sweet categories like confectionery, desserts, and ice cream. Saturated fat warnings appear most on snack food launches and sodium on meat products.  

Sugar influences food and beverages purchases for three-quarters of Colombian consumers while saturated fat influences half of consumers.  

Nutrition Warning Labels Phasing in for Mexico  

Food and beverage nutrition warning labels in Mexico include sugar, calories, sweeteners, and caffeine. Over half of Mexican food and beverage launches have a nutrition warning label – the most in Latin America. Mexican consumer trends show that consumers are influenced most by sugar and calories warning labels. Calorie and sugar nutrition warnings appear most on cereals and confectionery while snack often carry sodium warnings. 

Peruvian Warning Labels Offer Additional Guidance 

Foods and beverages in Peru with an octagonal nutrition warning label also must carry statements to “avoid excessive consumption” or “avoid consumption.” Nearly half of food and beverage launches in Peru have a warning label; fat and sugar warnings are most common. Nearly 8 in 10 confectionery launches feature a sugar warning and half have a saturated fat warning label. Warning labels also can be seen on bakery launches, meat, fish and eggs for sodium, and dairy for saturated fat.  

Stricter Limits Could Be Next 

Several countries in Latin America already have sugar taxes and others are considering them in addition to nutrition warning labels. Many products will need reformulation regarding sugar, salt and fat to avoid requiring warning labels, with consumers showing support of natural ingredients and an interest in clean label 

 

This article is based on our insider report, “Nutritional Warning Labels in Latin America.” If you are interested in reading this report, feel free to request a demo.
You can do this by either booking a demo or using our Contact Form.

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