How to Design Great Supplement Labels: FDA Compliance

October 26, 2023

When we talk about producing and selling supplement products, a key focal point is the design of labels. Supplement labels are no longer just simple stickers, they play the role of a product's facade and convey information to customers.

When designing supplement labels, we need to adhere to the principles of label design: compliance and prominence.
Compliance is the primary consideration in label design. Requirements for label information vary from country to country around the world. We will use the FDA as an example, and provide a detailed introduction to the essential knowledge for creating FDA-approved supplement labels.
Eye-catching is another important factor in label design. We will share practical and easy-to-implement design tips and offer suggestions on where to place the labels.

1. Creating FDA-compliant supplement labels

The presence of the FDA is crucial for the supplement industry as it ensures the legality and safety of products while safeguarding consumer rights. Therefore, in this highly competitive market, understanding how to create labels that meet FDA standards is not just a task but a key to ensuring product success. In the following, we will delve into the FDA's regulations for supplement labels and the requirements for supplement facts labels, providing you with a comprehensive guide.

1.1 The Role of Supplement Labels

Labels are visual representations of a product, and through an appealing design, tagline, or logo, labels can stand out in a saturated market. Consumers are often influenced by the appearance of a product when shopping, so well-designed labels can stimulate their interest, increase their awareness of the product, and ultimately motivate them to make a purchase decision. And, labeling is also a source of information for consumers.

1.2 FDA Supplement Labeling Regulations

Supplement labels typically appear on the front label panel and the information panel of the product packaging. The front label panel is primarily meant to catch the consumer's eye as it occupies the most prominent position on the packaging. Once on the shelf, this panel is the first thing consumers see when browsing in stores. The information panel is usually located on the right side of the front label panel and provides more technical details to meet the needs of consumers who want a deeper understanding of the product's characteristics. I will use Puraiva Nutrition as an example to explain the FDA requirement for supplement labels to include five pieces of information.

1. Statement of Identity

This is the official name of the supplement, and the manufacturer must have this information front and center on the front label panel. The "Apple Cider Vinegar Gummy" shown above is the identity statement.

2. Net Quantity of Contents Statement

The Net Quantity of Contents is the unit amount of supplement in the container, which is usually listed somewhere below the identity statement on the front panel. For example, Puraiva contains 60 gummies per bottle.

3. Nutrition Labeling

Nutrition labels are almost always located on the right-hand panel. Nutritional labeling is very important and we'll focus on that below. The information on the right panel on the example chart is all about the nutritional information of apple cider vinegar.

4. Ingredient List

The ingredient list is located directly below the nutrition label, this part must accurately and clearly state all the relevant ingredients in the product. The picture above clearly lists the ingredients in apple cider vinegar gummy candy, such as Glucose Syrup, Sugar, Glucose, Pectin, Citric Acid, and so on.

5. Name and Place of Business

This section must contain business information about the manufacturer, packer, or distributor, such as a list of names, cities, states, and zip codes. You can also list the address of your principal place of business in lieu of a physical address.

1.3 Supplement Facts Labeling Requirements

What often gives companies selling supplement products a headache is the supplement facts table. I will use a supplement product under Now Foods as an example to see what the requirements are for a supplement facts table.

1. Title

Begin by bolding the words "Supplement Fact" in the title.

2. Serving Size

You should clearly show the number of softgels, gummies, tablets, or teaspoons that are recommended to meet the nutritional level specified on the label. The example above shows that the manufacturer's recommended serving size is 2 softgels per serving.

3. Servings per container

"Servings per container" indicates how many servings of the supplement are contained in a container. The information in the example above indicates that the container contains 45 softgels.

4. Amount per serving

It indicates the list of nutrients contained in the supplement and needs to provide information about the content of various nutrients in each supplement. For example, the Amount per serving column in the Supplement Facts table above lists Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D3, and so on. In addition, the FDA only requires you to list the amount and percentage of daily intake of nine ingredients: sodium, total carbohydrates, dietary fiber, sugar, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron. Listing information for other substances is at your discretion.

5. % Daily Value

In the same line as "Amount per serving", located on the right side of it. Dv means the percentage of each nutrient in the recommended daily intake of adults and children aged 4 years and above. In the example above, the recommended daily intake for vitamin A is 333%. It is important to note that some of the asterisks or daggers used in place of percentages indicate that a Daily Intake has not yet been assigned for that particular nutrient.

6. lU

The international unit (lU) is the standard unit of measurement for fat-soluble vitamins (A.D and E). The chart above clearly shows that each serving of the supplement contains 1,000 IU of vitamin D-3.

7. Milligram and microgram

mg and mcg are units used to measure water-soluble vitamins (such as vitamin C and B vitamins) as well as minerals. 1 microgram is equal to 0.001 milligrams, or 1 milligram is equal to 1,000 micrograms.

8. Ingredients

Ingredients that are not major nutrients (preservatives, fillers, etc.) are listed at the bottom of the label in descending order of weight.

The following information can be placed in any part of the label panel:

  • Instructions for use (optional, unless necessary for safe use)
  • Warning (optional, unless necessary for safe use)
  • Country of origin (optional, unless the product is from a foreign country)
  • DSHEA disclaimer (optional, unless a structure/function statement is made)

2. Supplement Label Design Tips

A well-designed label not only attracts the consumer's eye but also sends a message about the brand's values and important information about the product. Supplement labels have a color, text, and printing, and these elements come together to form a memorable label. Next, we'll explore these design tips in deep.

1. Color Matching

When consumers are shopping for a product off the shelf or on an online shopping platform, the color of your product tells them something about it before they see your product name and logo. With so many colors available, which one should you choose?

● Red

Red is a striking color that represents strength, energy, and passion. This color is often used in supplement products that support endurance, enhance athletic performance, or improve sexual health. For example, MAN Sports uses this color for its sports nutrition supplements.

● Yellow

This color conveys feelings of joy and happiness. The color yellow is often seen in energy products and is also often used in children's supplements. Products under Nature Made's energy supplements are labeled in yellow.

● Blue

Have you noticed that many melatonin products feature blue labeling? Blue represents serenity and stability and is well suited for sleep supplements that are designed to support cognitive function, concentration, or stress relief. Nature's Way's very popular sleep supplements feature this color scheme.

● Green

The color green is often seen as a symbol of nature and freshness and is also strongly associated with health and vitality. Therefore, products that are designed to support health or are vegan/clean are well suited for green labeling, Naturelo claims to use plant-based nutrients and organic fruits and vegetables, and all of their supplements are labeled in this fresh, natural green color. The color green perfectly illustrates their natural philosophy.

● Pink

This gentle hue is widely used in the field of women's health products. Pink is not only a representative color for women's vitamin products, but it also symbolizes optimism and romance. SUKU's gummy supplements are very popular with women, and both the label color and the product form of the supplements reveal a lovely aura.

● Orange

The color orange represents joy and vitality and is also closely associated with immunity and the healing process. As such, it is ideal for use in immune supplements, children's products, or energy-boosting products. Just like this Immune Supplement Gummies from Goli ® Nutrition, you can tell by the label color that it's full of energy.

● Purple

Purple conveys a sense of luxury and splendor. It is similar to blue, and many calming and sleep supplements also prefer to use this color. Bright purple is also preferred for children's supplement products. Flintstones™ Vitamins uses bright purples and oranges for most of its supplement products because its products are geared toward children.

2. Text

Choosing the right font is crucial when it comes to label design. Whether it's the smallest text on the label or the main message, you want to make sure that the text on the label is clear and easy to read. Your font choice should harmonize with the product itself to create the best effect.

For example, a sports nutrition product that supports muscle growth could feature a large, bold font to emphasize strength and determination. This protein powder from Optimum Nutrition, for example, is full of power as evidenced by the label text.

Children's Immune Gummies, on the other hand, could use a funnier, livelier handwritten font to capture the interest of younger consumers, as is the case with DR. MORITZ's supplement labels, which have a very cute font that is very much in line with children's preferences.

If you wish to use multiple fonts on your label, this is possible. However, it is recommended that it is best to limit it to two different fonts in order to avoid the label appearing too busy.

3. Labeling materials

Don't overlook the labeling material when selling your supplement product. If the label looks cheap, consumers may think that the product is inferior. Usually, supplement labels are printed on the following common materials:

White Plastic LabelsResistant to water, moisture, and abrasion
Holographic Plastic LabelsThree-dimensional and glossy effect under the light, waterproof and oil-proof, withstand high temperatures
Metallic Plastic LabelsHigh-grade and exquisite, waterproof, oil-proof
Ultra-Clear Plastic LabelsUltra-transparent, waterproof, oil-proof

When choosing a label material, it's important to consider not only the look and feel of the label but also its durability and sustainability.

Reiheychem, as a Chinese supplement manufacturer, has found that BOPP (bi-oriented polypropylene) is the preferred choice for supplement labels when we work with various supplement brand owners. This is because the material is very easy to customize while being highly resistant.

3. Supplement labeling options for different packaging types

Different types of packaging require different considerations when choosing supplement labels. Whether it's a bottle, box, or pouch, each type has its own unique characteristics. In the following article, we will look at how to choose the right label for different types of supplement packaging.

● Bottles

Bottles are probably the most common packaging for supplements. They are cylindrical and easy to label. Wrap-around supplement labels or front and back labels work well.

● Boxes

For boxed supplements, front and back or side labeling is usually used. Front labels usually contain some basic information about the product and the brand logo to attract consumers to the shelf. Back or side labels usually contain more detailed information such as ingredients, directions for use, warnings, and other legal requirements.

● Bags

For bagged supplements, labels are usually located on the front and back of the bag. This approach is simple and straightforward and makes good use of space.


What font size, prominence, and conspicuousness do I need to use on the main display panel and information panel?

Letters must be at least one-sixteenth (1/16) of an inch in height for a lowercase "o" and no more than three times as tall as they are wide. The font must provide sufficient contrast with the background (it does not need to be black and white) to be readable.

Do I need to specify the country of origin if my product or an ingredient in my product is not from the U.S.?

Yes, unless otherwise provided by law. The Tariff Act requires that each article of foreign origin (or its container) imported into the United States be conspicuously marked with the English name of the country of origin of the article.

Do dietary supplements have to include expiration dates on their labels?

No. However, a firm may include this information if it is supported by valid data demonstrating that it is not false or misleading.

If I make claims about other nutrients, do I need to list them?

Yes. When you declare calories from saturated fats, insoluble fiber, polyunsaturated fats, sugar alcohols, monounsaturated fats, other carbohydrates, and soluble fiber, you must list that nutrient.

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