Official Font for Nutrition Fact Labels

Posted on March 05, 2013 by

This question comes up a lot and for good reason. The nutrition fact label font we often see is very recognizable, which makes the label itself recognizable and also easy for consumers to read.

Since we make nutrition label software we are always noticing nutrition fact labels, whether it's online or in real life, and too often the label just doesn't look right because of the font. Unfortunately something as small as a font can make a product look less professional and more difficult to read. In this post we'll go over what the FDA says about fonts and what we use on our labels.

The FDA's stance is actually very simple and non-restrictive:

"The nutrition label shall utilize a single easy-to-read type style."

As the FDA rules point out above, there is no font style mentioned at all. So how did so many labels end up with the same font? Well, in many of the examples that the FDA provides, they happen to use Helvetica (see a series of examples).

So, the bottom line is that your nutrition fact label font should be:

  • Easy to read
  • Consistent (single font throughout your nutrition label)
  • And lastly, use bold/italics for certain nutrients

At ReciPal, we use Helvetica and Arial, depending on what font is available on your computer. Helvetica and Arial (font geeks may scream at me for this), while not identical, are very similar and both provide the look and feel for a proper nutrition facts label.

In the end, any font deemed "easy to read" is OK to use on your nutrition facts label. The FDA uses Helvetica in their examples and (most likely) because of that fact most labels use Helvetica. As a result, this has become an industry standard, making labels that use other fonts look a bit unprofessional despite being completely acceptable as far as the FDA is concerned. For customers reading labels, the Helvetica font is easier to recognize and makes the label and layout feel familiar and easy to follow.


About Lev Berlin

Lev Berlin is the founder & CEO of ReciPal. Having previously been a founder of SlantShack Jerky, he needed nutrition labels and simple tools to start and run the business. He's read the FDA food labeling code countless times in the process of creating ReciPal and helping small food businesses with their labels. He's reviewed and created thousands of food labels, and been a mentor and guest speaker at food incubators, food business courses, and regulatory conferences, like Brooklyn Foodworks and ICE.

After graduating from Princeton with an engineering degree, Lev was a management consultant, then founder or early employee at half a dozen startups. He loves nothing more than helping other small businesses get off the ground and achieve their goals.

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