U.S Chocolate Labeling Requirements 

BluCactus - Labeling

U.S Chocolate Labeling Requirements. The United States, as the world’s largest market, has a system of truthful and consistent chocolate labeling requirements. This regulation established by the Food and Drug Administration manages a set of classifying categories for all products derived from cocoa. Its objective is to create an adequate legal framework for the labeling and marking each of these product ranges. The latter, with the clear intention of providing objective information to the consumer about their criteria of quality, flavor, and energy capacity. By the 2020s, the global chocolate labeling market will be defined by the arrival of major consumer trends. All this is conditioned by the importance of labeling these materials has been gaining over time.


Aware of such realities, the BluCactus marketing agency innovates once again regarding its services for chocolate labeling requirements. On this occasion, its range of services is clearly complemented by the following blog. It includes a helpful text that summarizes all the informative codes related to how the US government dictates the parameters for identifying basic chocolate packaging. These regulations facilitate brands’ access to national, international, and global markets.


What chocolate is famous in the US? Where can I find good chocolate in the US?


Since the first chocolate bar appearance around 1860, the Anglo-Saxon market has reinvented itself in chocolate labeling requirements. Today, the Mars Chocolate brand, also known as M&M’s, leads the US market as the best-selling product in its category. The latter through a profit margin that easily exceeds 580 million dollars. As for the rest of the market, it is known that 73.9% of the North American population is an active consumer of chocolate products. This last measure represents a total of 234 million people and an equivalent commercial value of 19.3 billion dollars.


Artisanal chocolate is gaining significant ground in that nation in terms of quality. This is partly due to the modern trend of consuming chocolates with the consumer’s health in mind and the environment. Although chocolate labeling requirements are being adapted to these changes, it is predicted that these reforms do not change the potential that craft brands have for the average consumer. Thus, companies like Fran’s, Vosges Haut-Chocolat, and LA Burdick Chocolates are noted for their quality. Not only because of their significant influence on tourism. But also because they have adapted the European tradition to the new formulas required by the growth of the North American and global public. 


What determines the cost of chocolate?


In the process of adjusting and coupling his product to the chocolate labeling requirements, the current entrepreneur must consider global price fluctuations. When launching a new chocolate product, its total price is established according to the relationship between supply and demand for said product in the world. To begin with, the limitations in the supply of materials derived from cocoa imply a higher final price. This stems to a greater extent from the African market, from which 70% of the global cocoa provision is from. Specifically from regions like Ghana and Ivory Coast. It is observed how climatic phenomena, plagues, and political or civil problems trigger a loss in cocoa crops. This causes restrictions in the general supply of cocoa butter and cocoa powder.


On the other hand, regarding the demand for chocolate, this has increased by 3% since 2008. This is observed with a more significant pronounced effect in areas like the United States and Western Europe. There, dark chocolate brands significantly persist in the market for chocolate labeling requirements. In the future, an increase is observed in terms of forwarding contracts this to protect brands from this type of constant fluctuations.


How is chocolate labeled? Why is labeling important in chocolate?


BluCactus - LabelingIn the United States, chocolate labeling requirements are established for a total of fifteen different categories. The legal authority referred to for the study and categorization of these elements is the code in its title 21. Specifically, part 163 is explicitly dedicated to studying products derived from cocoa. The title of said section occupies the name of the Food and Drug Administration Department of Health and Human Services in its subchapter B, Food for Human Consumption. It should be noted that this type of informative action offers a wide variability for the labeling of each product. It is essential that when designing a label, the entrepreneur knows how to identify the product according to the information pattern established for each genre.


By regulation in general, chocolate labels must comply with the five parameters required for food in general. They are detailed in section 101 of title 21 of the law above. These general parameters are established for the product’s identity, list of ingredients, and identification as homemade food if required. Equally essential are the parameters of identifying the producing company and the net content. Having these five informative parameters on an everyday basis, the chocolate labeling requirements in the United States are established by the following fifteen categories:


All you need to promote your life coaching business to success | BluCactusCocoa Nibs


This product is generally marketed in synthetic sealed bags to facilitate its transport and suitability. It consists of a presentation of pieces of bitter cocoa shell and purified by a combination of alkaline ingredients. Its nomenclature is usually limited to the expressions of Cocoa Nibs or Cocoa Party.


Chocolate Liqueur


It represents a variant of the previous formula. It consists of a liquid or semi-plastic solution made by grinding cocoa nibs. Generally, according to the chocolate labeling US requirements, this preparation does not have more than 60% cocoa fat. Alkaline ingredients allowed in this variant include bicarbonate of soda, ammonium nitrate, and phosphoric acid.


Success awaits, don't miss Off-Page SEO Checklist for 2021 | BluCactusCocoa Breakfast


Component that is formed by extracting the remaining fat from crushed cocoa beans. Generally, its presentation is made from the base powder obtained from such a construction method. It is characterized by presenting a combination of flavoring agents that range from chocolate extract, milk, butter, and salt.




Cocoa must not exceed 22% naturally occurring cocoa fat when sold in its natural form. The chocolate labeling requirements demanded by the FDA declared that the only valid expressions for the presentation of this type of merchandise are those of cocoa or skimmed cocoa.


Low-Fat Cocoa


This food is directly related to that of the breakfast chocolate genre. Its most fundamental difference is that its fat concentration does not exceed 10% of its total mass. The terminology established by the chocolate labeling requirements must not add another term other than “low-fat cocoa.”


Cocoa with dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate for manufacturing


More than a product, it is a component for primarily industrial use. Its definition is associated with any product with dioctyl and sodium sulfosuccinate added in a proportion not greater than 0.4% of the total weight. The vocabulary required for this categorization on the labels is that of the product name, preceded by the expression “for manufacturing.”


BluCactus - LabelingSweet chocolate


Despite its name, sweet chocolate is considered to be any preparation of cocoa that integrates any component of carbohydrate sweeteners. Generally, cocoa liquor is the element that is mainly used at the time of its preparation. The concentration of this element must exceed 15% of the mass of the product to be considered legal and commercially viable.


White chocolate


The chocolate labeling requirements point to white chocolate as a cocoa product that incorporates any dairy product or semi-product. This category must be devoid of any dyes. Likewise, it should not have a cocoa fat concentration of less than 20%. On the other hand, among the dairy products allowed for this category are cream, butter, buttermilk, and milk.


BluCactus - LabelingMilk chocolate


For a given product to be considered milk chocolate, the chocolate labeling requirements stipulate specific measures. First, the product must legally contain more than 339% of its mass composed of milk fat. In the same instance, the inclusion of milk solids should not exceed 12% of its total.


Chocolate whey


Its indicated concentration level is in a proportion similar to that of milk chocolate. However, the only products meant for this type of composition are concentrated whey cream, sweet whey cream, and its dehydrated variant.


BluCactus - LabelingSkim milk chocolate


A total of 3.39% minimum concentration of components derived from milk is allowed. Only a nonfat chocolate product should incorporate milk in its nonfat variant. Also allowed for said preparation are the variants of evaporated, concentrated, sweetened, skimmed milk powder, or in combination.


Mixed Dairy Chocolates


This category becomes valid after the reception and marketing of chocolate products with milk derivatives in combination is feasible. Chocolate labeling requirements demand that the sum of such components must not exceed 12% concentration of the total mass of the product in its entirety.


Coverage of sweet cocoa and vegetable fat


Chocolate labeling requirements conspicuously identify the mass properties of said composition. Essentially, it just needs to be able to combine cocoa powder and chocolate liqueur in a larger capacity. Specifically, such concentration must respect a total not greater than 6.8% of its total weight.


Sweet chocolate coating and vegetable fat


This product is limited to its use by the industry that requires it as an elementary factor in various sweet preparations. The regulations stipulate a total of no more than 12% of solid milk masses for this type of food agent composition. On the other hand, its nomenclature must show its kind of use. The latter through the appearance of expressions such as “sweet chocolate coating and vegetable fat.”


Milk chocolate coating and vegetable fat


The categories specified by the United States chocolate labeling requirements end with this last subdivision. This product must nominally contain a total of no more than 12% of derivatives from milk. To the same extent, the inclusion in this product of sweetener or non-vegetable synthetic element whose presence necessarily exceeds the limit allowed for the concentration of such features is prohibited.


Other important conditions for proper compliance with the United States chocolate labeling requirements system


The last conditions that the American government requires to declare a chocolate label are in the integrity of health. Their declaration requires exact labeling by current legislation and with clear consistency with the same nutritional, commercial and allergenic properties. It is important to avoid misrepresentation of information in chocolate labeling. FDA authorities send “warning letters” to businessmen when they commit or carry out this type of infraction. The latter applies to crimes carried out by both national and foreign companies.


The chocolate labeling requirements indicate a set of statements with a high degree of risk in terms of their use. They should not be used lightly by brands nor under a strict advertising scope. Its presentation must be consistent with the natural properties of the product. The same phrases or statements correspond to the words “sugar-free,” “100% chocolate product”, “bittersweet chocolate,” “no trans fats,” and “craft chocolate.” Such sectors of the market commonly misuse this system of expressions.


How do I start a chocolate business?


BluCactus - LabelingBuilding a business in this category goes far beyond properly utilizing chocolate labeling requirements. It is about designing a whole strategy for the construction and positioning of the brand. All of which guarantee that the different qualities of your product can reach the public of interest. Today, the United States is an ideal country for forming and launching new home-style chocolate brands. All this is because chocolate is one of the few products capable of appearing in innumerable aesthetic formulas. Despite its high degree of historical weight and global demand. All this is according to the creativity and ingenuity of the creator.


To begin with, it is important to clarify that chocolate labeling requirements are the last step in a long production journey. It is defined on a minimum of six to eight stages depending on the scope that is intended to be given to said business. The first fundamental step in all of this is the definition of the market niche, a stage where the nature is in question. At an average statistical level, it is estimated that opening a small chocolate business in the United States can bring in a minimum amount of 200 to 400 thousand dollars.


BluCactus - PresentationDefinition of the market niche


This initial stage directly influences the subsequent definition of chocolate labeling requirements. For the United States market, the purpose of this phase goes far beyond the selection of all the categories allowed by the FDA. It is about declaring or establishing that differentiation point between your brand and other bets on the market. You and your team must be able to review all existing bets within your category in the market. An important point of differentiation at this stage is the wrapper itself. The latter is more significantly within the category of gourmet chocolates.


Identification of supplier companies


Far beyond its influence on the product’s price, the choice of the right supplier influences its quality. The maintenance of the flavor will be a determining factor for the company’s positioning in the market. Thus, the sudden change of raw material can cause variations in its final taste that your customers easily perceive. Chocolate labeling requirements also play a vital role in this second area. Economically, the price of a chocolate unit must be parallel to its labeling formula.


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This stage will depend on the calculation of orders and volume that your company will be able to produce. Both you and your team must know the type of machinery to be used and the storage conditions. The type of orders must be calculated according to the amount requested and the time required for processing. To store raw ingredients, additional tanks are necessary for the preparation process. Likewise, the baking oven requires an average temperature of 65 to 68 degrees. All these elements directly impact on the qualities needed for the chocolate labeling requirements.


Processing and obtaining the necessary health permits


The FDA is the same institution regarding how chocolate labeling requirements should be presented. More specifically, about the field of health in general. If any brand violates its basic regulations, the agency will be in charge of sending warning letters explaining the reason for the said call for attention. On average, the primary sanctions or removals of articles from the market by the FDA are for the inappropriate use of certain expressions. Among the most common are those of without sugar, 100% chocolate, without trans fats, artisan chocolate, mass-market chocolate, and the bittersweet. These designations require a percentage concentration level of the regulated elements, which must be strictly complied with.


How is chocolate packaging done?


The BluCactus marketing agency brings you different formulas so that your product can meet the chocolate labeling requirements. Our services go beyond the packaging design and its labels in general. BluCactus´ team can also use all the tools available in the global market to provide your company with the required consistency. Therefore, you will be able to count on a wide assisted service that goes from the provision of content for your web page to the use of offline advertising for your company. The latter will help you position yourself and be visible to your users both in the United States and in other regions of the planet where our influence already has a consolidated impact.


We provide a wide range of synthetic materials for building a package consistent with the chocolate labeling requirements. They are selected thinking both for compliance with the required laws on the environment and for the conservation of the properties of your product in general. Thus, we can offer two fundamental procedures for your chocolate production brand at a standard level. They are based on how the packaging of sweets at a global level has evolved in recent years.


Sealed by folding


Automatic or manual folding consists of taking the ends of the package and using a folding device to seal the package mechanically. Today, it is an abundant option within the wide range of artisan chocolates. On the other hand, it is an aspect that is not restricted by the chocolate labeling requirements. At the same time, it is a limited option in its use. Because not all materials are suitable for maintaining the closure by folding throughout the entire marketing and distribution chain. The positive aspect of this field is the ability to use broad designs with extensive graphics that amplify the aesthetic effect based on its versatile capacity in terms of color.


Vacuum heat and pressure sealing


More traditional techniques and closer to industrial standards ensure the conservation of the packaging for a longer time. Despite its wide use, care must always be taken in selecting packaging devices whose packaging action does not alter or change the properties of the chocolate product. To a greater extent, through the use of a pressure flap, two plastic sheets that make up the product’s packaging are adhered by applying heat. Current chocolate labeling requirements in both the United States and the rest of the world are becoming more aware of the limitations regarding the use of polymers and foil wrappers. All this has led our company to suggest other exciting options for the packaging of its branded products.


Final Notes: BluCactus is present in the United States and throughout North America to revolutionize the chocolate and food packaging sector in general.


BluCactus - Linn Larsson BluCactus - Ken SchrenkThe food market and, more specifically, chocolate labeling requirements are evolving in the United States with surprising speed. This phenomenon occurs much faster in the North American nation due to its rapid access to the representative globalization that said country has been leading for more than three decades. This reality favors the fact that any product proposal can reach more countries in less time. On the other hand, the help of the services that companies like BluCactus offer help you not be alone in this competitive and voracious market.


From our headquarters in Dallas, Texas, BluCactus has accompanied the North American businessman for more than a decade. All of which involve a wide range of services within which the chocolate labeling and packaging requirements are also included. We create for you a channel of multiple and personalized attention. Thus, we will be able to assist you both personally in our offices and through a videoconference. Finally, we invite you to subscribe to our weekly newsletter and follow us on all our social networks. So now you know! With BluCactus, your company’s products will be destined to succeed! Contact us today and join the experience!




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