The gluten-free symbol is getting a bolder look

Symbols are everywhere on packaging as consumers demand food transparency.

The familiar gluten-free "GF" symbol is getting an update to make it crystal clear to consumers in global markets that the product has been certified as containing none of that gooey, intolerance-causing protein.

Before, certifying organization the Gluten Intolerance Group of Auburn, Wash., utilized a concise GF within a circle mark, which appears on 60,000 products in 51 markets. The new, larger symbol states GFCO, for Gluten-Free Certification Organization, and contains the web address. Brands have until 2022 to convert to the new logo.

As transparency becomes more important to consumers, everything from provenance to processing goes into the purchase decision.  A survey by Label Insight and the Food Marketing Institute determined that 47 percent of American households had someone following a particular diet/health program.

New Hope Network, which puts on the natural products industry trade show, Expo West, surveyed exhibitors at its 2019 annual conference. It found that half of all food and beverage products exhibited at the Anaheim, Calif., show bore two or more product certification labels.

Certifications tracked by New Hope Network’s NEXT Trend Database include certifications for non-GMO, humane treatment, fair trade and, of course, organic. 

Recently, the US Hemp Authority authorized a product seal that certifies the product follows best standards and practices to provide some legitimacy to a category that is often under fire for mislabeling. Its certification is managed by FoodChain ID, the same company that handles Non-GMO Project testing. 

As for "gluten-free," the Gluten Intolerance Group stated that the new logo leaves no question the product is "Certified Gluten Free" and that it met USDA and international trademark requirements. Directing consumers to the website will also allow them to more easily find certified foods.

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