Labelling and Packaging

How to calculate your product nutritional information

The inclusion of nutritional information on your finished product label is a legal requirement in the majority of countries. This information makes it easier for consumers to make better informed food choices. But how do you work out what the nutrient values should be? This post digs into the what, why and how when it comes to educating consumers about your food product.

What is Nutritional Information?

Nutritional information is a collection of nutrients and their values that are present in a food product. The most common nutrients include energy (kilojoules or calories), protein, fat, saturated fat, carbohydrate, sugars, and sodium (a component of salt).  Generally, data per 100g and also per serving size is required.

Declaration of Mandatory Nutrients

Depending on where you are located, the law will stipulate what nutrients are required to be declared. There may be exemptions depending on the type of food that you manufacture. The following table provides a general overview.

Declaration of Mandatory Nutrients

Making Nutrient Claims

If you make a nutritional claim on your food packaging or food label you may also be required to include that data as part of your nutritional information. For example, if you claim your product is ‘high in omega-3’ you would need to declare the omega-3 values.

Calculation Methods

There are two ways to determine the nutrition information of your food products. You can determine by laboratory analysis or by calculation. Laboratory Analysis involves you sending your finished product to a laboratory where they will physically test the product using approved methods.

The calculation method involves using your recipe/formulation, raw ingredient nutrient data, and processing losses or gains to calculate the finished products overall nutrient value.

You can complete this process manually or use a nutrient software calculator. In the past, I have used Nutritics, FoodWorks and Nutritionist Pro. Free resources can also be found at Nutrition Panel Calculator (Australia) or at Online Labels.

The manual calculation can be very time consuming if you have multiple products. I prefer using purpose-built software as the program listed above will also provide additional information that is required to appear on a food label. For example, ingredients list, country of origin, allergen statements, daily intake %.

Validating your Nutritional Information

If your company maintains 3rd party certification to a GFSI accredited standard, there is a requirement to validate your nutritional information.  To help with compliance, make sure that you keep a copy of how your calculations were completed, with emphasis on the recipe/formulation that was used during the calculation process.

Get more information

To find out what the legal requirements are in your country of manufacture please visit your review your applicable legislation or seek your own legal advice.

Have your say

What is the method that you use in your food business to calculate the nutritional information of your products. Share your experience by leaving a comment below this post.

10 thoughts on “How to calculate your product nutritional information”

  1. The nutritional content of a food product can accurately be done by laboratory tests.In other words, the food samples are brought to the laboratory for nutritional analysis. A laboratory certificate of analysis is provided by the laboratory, together with the Nutrifacts Table.

  2. Alexis Mallillin

    Dear Amanda, this is another great topic which is very timely here in Dubai. By 2020, it is noe a mandatory requirement for all restaurant menus to calorie count labeling in the menus. More power to your topics which is indeed very helpful to all food safety enthusiasts all over the world! Best regards, Alexis

  3. When the nutritional information is calculated and verified by a chemical test when the product is launched is there a requirement to verify the data annually or at a stated frequency? I understand that if any ingredient is changed it would be required to undertake the calculation and verification prior to making the change so that the new finished product nutritional data matches that on the new packaging.

    1. Amanda Evans-Lara

      It really depends on what your 3rd party certification standard requires. But in saying this, and in the eyes of the law, your product labelling needs to be conveying truthful information at all times and not mislead the customer.

  4. FX Hartanti Satochid { Francisca )

    In Indonesia we have guidance issued by National Agency of Drug and Food Control (NADFC)

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