Labeling Added Sugars in Mexico

Added sugars play a crucial role in overall nutrition, as consuming too much sugar can lead to health-related issues such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Sugar has also been viewed in a negative light in recent years, so there has been a growing trend to have less sugar in food and drink products. In Mexico, there have been recent updates to the Official Mexican Standard (NOM) that focus on the labeling of these added sugars on food labels. They aim to give consumers clearer information on added sugars and present them more visibly on labels so that they can make healthier dietary choices. This article will unpack the meaning behind added sugars in nutrition labeling and explore the specifics of the latest NOM updates regarding added sugars.


  • Definition and Identification: Added sugars refer to any sugars added to foods during processing, not naturally occurring in raw ingredients. Common added sugars include sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, molasses, and agave syrup.
  • Labeling Requirements: Mexican regulations require clear labeling of added sugars under the heading “azúcares añadidos” on food labels. These sugars must be listed in descending order of weight and grouped together to enhance clarity for consumers.
  • Font and Size Regulations: Labels must use clear and legible text to ensure that information about added sugars is easily readable.
  • Practical Steps for Compliance:
    • Review and Adjust Labels: Businesses should review existing labels, determine necessary changes, and adjust the label design to meet new standards.
    • Verify Compliance: Ensuring all label changes comply with regulations is crucial, possibly involving consultations with regulatory experts.
  • Using Food Label Maker: This tool helps automate label updates, ensuring compliance with current regulations, reducing errors, and improving efficiency.
  • Common Challenges and Solutions:
    • Identifying Added Sugars: Businesses often struggle with correctly identifying added sugars. Utilizing comprehensive databases and tools like Food Label Maker can aid in accurately categorizing and labeling these ingredients.
    • Proper Grouping and Order: Accurately grouping and ordering added sugars according to regulatory requirements can be complex. Automated tools can help ensure accuracy and compliance in this process.
  • Benefits of Technology: Leveraging technology like Food Label Maker enhances labeling accuracy, saves time, and ensures consistency across product lines, helping businesses maintain compliance and competitive advantage.

Defining Added Sugars According to Mexican Standards

Under the current Mexican regulations, the definition of ‘added sugars’ refers to any sugars that are added to foods and beverages when they are processed and prepared and are not naturally occurring in the raw ingredients used. 

The list of ingredients that qualify as added sugars are:

  • Sucrose: Commonly known as table sugar and is derived from sugar cane or sugar beets.
  • High-fructose corn syrup: This is a sweetener made from corn starch that has been processed to convert some of its glucose into fructose.
  • Honey: Although honey is natural, it is considered an added sugar when included in products during manufacturing.
  • Molasses: A byproduct from the refining of sugar cane or sugar beets that has been turned into sugar.
  • Agave syrup: Extracted from the agave plant, it is often used in food products as a natural sweetener but is classified as added sugar when used in processing.

These examples, among others, must be indicated on food labels under the latest NOM revisions. They can be found in cereals, sweetened drinks, and baked goods. 

Regulations on Declaring Added Sugars

When it comes to declaring added sugars on food labels in Mexico, the regulations are precise to ensure clarity and transparency for consumers. Added sugars must be distinctly listed within the ingredient list to highlight their presence in the product. This is done by prefixing the ingredients with “azúcares añadidos” (added sugars), followed by a detailed list in parentheses. This list includes all the specific names of the added sugars present in the product, ensuring they are easily identifiable.

The added sugars should be listed in decreasing order by weight. This means the added sugar present in the largest amount is listed first. When a product contains compound ingredients – ingredients that themselves contain several added sugars – these sugars must also be grouped and listed by their collective weight in the product.

The font and size used for declaring added sugars on labels are also regulated. The text must be clear and legible so that consumers can easily read the information on the labels. The aim of this is so that there is uniformity and visibility across all products in the food range so that it not only looks presentable but lets consumers make informed dietary choices with just a quick glance at the package.

Practical Guide to Compliant Labeling

Step-by-Step Label Adjustment

Adjusting your product labels to meet the new requirements for added sugars involves several key steps:

  • Look Through Existing Labels: Start by reviewing your current labels so you can identify where and how added sugars are currently listed.
  • Identify Necessary Changes: Compare your current labels with the new regulations to determine what needs to be changed. This might involve reformatting lists of ingredients, adjusting the font size, or even redesigning the entire label.
  • Specific Label Edits: You need to redesign the label layout so that you meet the new regulatory standards. This includes prominently listing ‘added sugars’ as specified, using the correct font size, and ensuring the overall design remains attractive and functional.
  • Verify Compliance: Before finalizing the label, make sure that all changes meet the regulatory requirements. This might involve consulting with a regulatory expert or using compliance tools designed for label verification.

Using Food Label Maker for Compliance

Food Label Maker can assist in redesigning labels to comply with the latest standards on added sugars. Their tool offers several benefits, including:

  • Automated Updates: Food Label Maker automatically incorporates the latest regulation changes into its system so you can rest assured that the labels you create on its platform are always compliant. 
  • Customized Design: Their label making templates are pre-configured with a number of features that can be customized to fit your product’s needs.
  • Error Reduction: By using a digital tool that is constantly updated, you have less chance of errors that would be caused by manual changes.  
  • Efficiency: Using automation to create your labels is a much quicker process and allows you to scale for your multiple products. 

Common Compliance Challenges and Solutions for Added Sugars Labeling

Understanding the Specifics of Added Sugars

Challenge: Businesses often need help identifying which ingredients qualify as added sugars under the new regulations. This confusion can lead to errors in labeling and businesses might face legal repercussions in turn.

Solution: To overcome this challenge, it is essential to have a comprehensive understanding of what added sugars are and what they are constituted of. As we stated, added sugars include ingredients like sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, molasses, and agave syrup. These sugars are found in products such as beverages, baked goods, and processed snacks. Utilizing tools like Food Label Maker can help businesses identify and categorize these sugars accurately if they are stuck. 

Correctly Grouping and Declaring Added Sugars

Challenge: Many businesses are unsure about the regulatory requirements for the proper order and grouping of added sugars on labels.

Solution: Added sugars should be listed under the “azúcares añadidos” heading in the ingredients list. They should also be grouped together and noted in descending order by weight. The font size and style must be legible and comply with the official guidelines. Food Label Maker can automate this listing process, reliably grouping and ordering added sugars without the risk of human error. This automation helps ensure compliance, enhances label accuracy, and streamlines the labeling process.

Leveraging Technology for Labeling Efficiency

Food Label Maker uses advanced technology to create and update nutrition facts labels when it comes to incorporating nutrients like fat, sodium, and added sugars.  

Using technology like Food Label Maker for label compliance offers several benefits:

  • Accuracy: Automated tools help avoid mistakes common with manual methods, ensuring labels are correct and follow the latest rules.
  • Time Savings: These tools speed up the label-making process, letting businesses update their labels quickly and handle many products at once.
  • Consistency: Automated tools ensure consistency in label design, which is crucial for brand integrity and regulatory compliance.
  • Automation helps keep the look and information on labels consistent, which is important for maintaining your brand’s reputation and meeting legal standards.
  • Easy To Use: With user-friendly interfaces, modern labeling software allows even those with limited technical skills to create professional and compliant labels.

By integrating technology like Food Label Maker into their labeling strategies, businesses can not only meet regulatory demands more effectively but also gain a competitive edge in the marketplace by ensuring their products are trusted and easily understood by consumers.