Proposed food label changes to sugars information

Canada is proposing changes on how information on sugars is presented on food labels. Learn about these proposed changes and how they can help Canadians make informed food choices for themselves and their families.

Alternate Formats

On this page

What are the proposed changes to sugars information?

To make it easier to identify foods high in sugars, we are proposing the following changes.

How to know if food contains a lot of sugars

The proposed changes to the nutrition facts table would require a percent daily value (% DV) for sugars. This will make it easy to see if a food has a lot of sugars.

We will include a footnote at the bottom of the table that lets Canadians know that:

  • 5% DV or less is a little
  • 15% DV or more is a lot

Figure 1. Proposed food label

Figure 1
   Proposed food label - Text Description

Shown here are two images of a Nutrition Facts table. The first one is the Nutrition Facts table currently found on food labels with an arrow pointing to the proposed Nutrition Facts table. There is explanatory text outside of the table, on the right side, with arrows pointing to the proposed changes to sugars information within the table.

Following is a description of the current Nutrition Facts table.

Left justified at the top of the table is the heading Nutrition Facts and stacked below it is the heading Valeur nutritive. Both are in bold. The next line is Per ½ cup open parenthesis 125 mL close parenthesis, forward slash par ½ tasse open parenthesis 125 mL close parenthesis. There is a thick rule below the serving size information that spans the width of the table.

Left justified on the next line is the subheading Amount, in bold and right justified on the same line is the subheading percent symbol Daily Value, in bold. Stacked directly below the subheading "Amount" is Teneur, in bold. Right justified on the same line is percent symbol valeur quotidienne also in bold. There is a thick rule below the subheadings that spans the width of the table. Note: this rule is not as thick as the one below the serving size information.

The next line is Calories, forward slash, Calories in bold followed by 80. There is a thin rule under the Calories information that spans the width of the table.

Left justified on the next line is Fat, forward slash, Lipides in bold followed by 0.5 and a lowercase g. Right justified on the same line is the number one followed by a percent symbol. There is a thin rule below the fat information that spans the width of the table.

Indented on the next line is Saturated, forward slash, saturés followed by 0 and a lower case g. Indented on the next line is a plus symbol followed by Trans, forward slash, trans followed by 0 and a lowercase g. Right justified and vertically centered against the saturated and trans information on the left is 0 followed by a percent symbol. There is a thin rule below the trans information that spans the width of the table.

The next line is Cholesterol, forward slash, Cholestérol in bold followed by 0 and mg in lowercase. There is a thin rule under the cholesterol information that spans the width of the table.

The next line is Sodium, forward slash, Sodium in bold followed by 0 and mg in lowercase. Right justified on the same line is 0 followed by a percent symbol. There is a thin rule under the sodium information that spans the width of the table.

The next line is Carbohydrate, forward slash, Glucides in bold followed by 18 and a lowercase g. Right justified on the same line is 6 followed by a percent symbol. There is a thin rule under the carbohydrate information that spans the width of the table.

Indented on the next line is Fibre, forward slash, Fibres, followed by 2 and a lowercase g. Right justified on the same line is 8 followed by a percent symbol. There is a thin rule under the fibre information that spans the width of the table.

Indented on the next line is Sugars, forward slash, Sucres, followed by 15 and a lowercase g. There is a thin rule under the sugars information that spans the width of the table.

The next line is Protein, forward slash, Protéines in bold followed by 3 and a lowercase g. There is a thick rule under the protein information that spans the width of the table.

The next line is Vitamin A, forward slash, Vitamine A. Right justified on the same line is 2 followed by a percent symbol. There is a thin rule under the vitamin A information that spans the width of the table.

The next line is Vitamin C, forward slash, Vitamine C. Right justified on the same line is 10 followed by a percent symbol. There is a thin rule under the vitamin C information that spans the width of the table.

The next line is Calcium, forward slash, Calcium. Right justified on the same line is 0 followed by a percent symbol. There is a thin rule under the calcium information that spans the width of the table.

The next line is Iron, forward slash, Fer. Right justified on the same line is 2 followed by a percent symbol. There is a thin rule under the iron information that spans the width of the table. This is the end of the current Nutrition Facts table description.

Next is a description of the proposed Nutrition Facts table which is pictured beside the current Nutrition Facts table.

Left justified at the top of the table is the heading Nutrition Facts and stacked below it is the heading Valeur nutritive. Both are in bold. The next line is Per ½ cup open parenthesis 125 mL close parenthesis. The next line is pour ½ tasse open parenthesis 125 mL close parenthesis. There is a thin rule below pour ½ tasse open parenthesis 125 mL close parenthesis that spans the width of the table. The next line is Calories in bold followed by 80, also in bold. Right justified on the same line is the subheading percent symbol Daily Value in bold. Stacked under this is percent symbol valeur quotidienne also in bold. Percent Daily Value has an asterisk that refers to a footnote at the bottom of the Nutrition Facts table. There is a thick rule under the Calories information that ends after the number 80. It does not span the width of the table.

Left justified on the next line is Fat, forward slash, Lipides in bold followed by 0.5 and a lowercase g. Right justified on the same line is the number one followed by a percent symbol. The next line is Saturated, forward slash, saturés followed by 0 and a lower case g. The next line is a plus symbol followed by Trans, forward slash, trans followed by 0 and a lowercase g. Right justified and vertically centered against the saturated and trans information on the left is 0 followed by a percent symbol. There is a thin rule below the trans information that spans the width of the table.

The next line is Carbohydrate, forward slash, Glucides in bold followed by 18 and a lowercase g. The next line is Fibre, forward slash, Fibres, followed by 2 and a lowercase g. The next line is Sugars, forward slash, Sucres, followed by 15 and a lowercase g. Right justified on the same line is the number 15 followed by a percent symbol. There is a red circle around the 15% and a green arrow outside of the table pointing to it with a note that says: New percent symbol DV for Sugars. There is a thin rule under the sugars information in the table that spans the width of the table.

The next line is Protein, forward slash, Protéines in bold followed by 3 and a lowercase g. There is a thin rule under the protein information that spans the width of the table.

The next line is Cholesterol, forward slash, Cholestérol in bold followed by 0 and mg in lowercase. There is a thin rule under the cholesterol information that spans the width of the table.

The next line is Sodium in bold followed by 0 and mg in lowercase. Right justified on the same line is 0 followed by a percent symbol. There is a thick rule under the sodium information that spans the width of the table.

The next line is Potassium followed by 200 and mg in lowercase. Right justified on the same line is 4 followed by a percent symbol. There is a thin rule under the potassium information that spans the width of the table.

The next line is Calcium followed by 0 and mg in lowercase. Right justified on the same line is 0 followed by a percent symbol. There is a thin rule below the calcium information that spans the width of the table.

The next line is Iron, forward slash, Fer followed by 0.3 and mg in lowercase. Right justified on the same line is 2 followed by a percent symbol. There is a thick rule under the iron information that spans the width of the Nutrition Facts table.

The next line is the percent Daily Value footnote that was referred to at the beginning of the table description. The footnote starts with an asterisk followed by the statement: 5 percent symbol or less is a little, forward slash, 5 percent symbol ou moins, c'est peu on one line and stacked under it the statement: 15 percent symbol or more is a lot, forward slash, 15 percent symbol ou plus c'est beaucoup. The terms a little, a lot, peu, and beaucoup are in bold. This is the end of the Nutrition Facts table.

Outside the table at the bottom right, there is an arrow pointing to the percent Daily Value footnote followed by text which says: Quick rule. This is the end of the proposed Nutrition Facts table description.

The % DV for sugars will allow consumers to compare 2 food products so they can make informed food choices. This is shown in the example below.

Common food items with %DV of sugars
Common food items with less than 15% DV of sugars Common food items with more than 15% DV of sugars
Milk (13% DV) Chocolate milk (26% DV)
Plain yogurt (12% DV) Flavoured yogurt (31% DV)
Unsweetened oat cereal (1% DV) Frosted oat cereal (18% DV)
Canned fruit in water (10% DV) Canned fruit in light syrup (21% DV)
Mineral water (0% DV) Soft drink (39% DV)
Unsweetened frozen fruit (6% DV) Fruit juice (25% DV)

The % DV for sugars will help Canadians make food choices that are consistent with the World Health Organization's recommendations. In terms of the sugars content in their food, this change will allow consumers to choose healthier food options.

How to identify the sources of sugars added to food

Changes to the list of ingredients will help consumers quickly find sources of sugars added to their food.

Currently, ingredients that are sugar-based and added directly to a food are listed separately in the list of ingredients. Ingredients are listed by weight from most to least.

We are proposing that all ingredients that are sugar-based be grouped in brackets after the common name "sugars." Sugars can include:

  • sugar
  • glucose-fructose
  • honey
  • malted barley
  • fancy molasses
  • fruit juice,concentrates and purées that are added to replace sugars in foods

Under the "sugars" grouping, sources of sugars will appear by weight from most to least. This will be based on their contribution to the total weight of the sugar-based ingredients in the food. With this approach, consumers will be able to tell how much added sugars a food has compared to the other ingredients.

Figure 2. Sources of added sugars

Figure 2
   Sources of added sugars - Text Description

There are two ingredient lists shown in the image. On the left is an example of the current list of ingredients. On the right, is the proposed format for the list of ingredients. The sugar sources are circled in red in each list.

The ingredient list on the left is contained within a grey box outlined by a black rule. All of the text within the box is black and in capital letters. A comma separates each ingredient in the list. It reads as follows, INGREDIENTS: wheat flour, fancy molasses, vegetable oil shortening (soybean and/or canola oil and modified palm oil), brown sugar, liquid whole egg, sugar, salt, sodium bicarbonate, spices, colour.

On the last line in the box there is text that says, CONTAINS: WHEAT, EGG, SOY.

The terms fancy molasses, brown sugar, and sugar are circled in red in this list.

The ingredient list on the right is contained within a white box outlined by a black rule. All text inside the box is black with the first letter of each ingredient capitalized. A bullet separates each ingredient in the list. It reads as follows, Ingredients: Sugars (fancy molasses, brown sugar, sugar) • Wheat flour • Vegetable oil shortening (soybean and/or canola oil and modified palm oil) • Liquid whole egg • Salt • Sodium bicarbonate • Spices • Allura red. The word 'ingredients' is in bold.

On the last line in the box there is text that says, Contains: Wheat • Egg • Soy. The word "contains" is in bold.

The "sugars (fancy molasses, brown sugar, sugar)" text is circled in red.

For more information

Date modified: