What Does an FDA-Approved Nutrition Label Look Like?

Are you finally gonna do it? Are you finally going to bring your famous barbecue sauce recipe to retail stores everywhere? Let us be the first to say, congratulations! And welcome to the food industry –you are officially a budding food manufacturer. If you’ve reached this point of the journey to retail, chances are you know that you need a nutrition label to go on your product packaging. And chances are, you’ve come across a ton of information on the subject! Well have no fear, we’re here to break it all down for you. We work with manufacturers from all walks of their CPG journey, both new and established, and we’re know how overwhelming it can be to go to retail when you’re brand new. But it doesn’t have to be. In this article we’ll cover how to determine the right label for your product packaging but first, let’s cover a few basics.

Why Do I Need a Nutrition Label? 

To be short and sweet, the FDA requires nutrition facts panels for food products so that the consumer purchasing the product can be aware of what they’re consuming. Not everyone has the ability to eat whatever they’d like, in fact, a significant amount of people have what’s called “dietary restrictions”. Dietary restrictions refer to things that a person can not eat due to their personal needs. These dietary restrictions could be due to religious or cultural reasons, or even food allergies. (Did you know that 32 million Americans have food allergies??) The nutrition label is the FDA-regulated way of giving the consumer the information they need to make a healthy decision regarding their food intake.

What Nutrition Information is on a Nutrition Label?

An FDA-compliant nutrition label contains 3 parts: nutrition panel, an ingredient statement & an allergen statement. The nutrition panel is the rectangular box that contains the nutrition report for the food product. It has all the information the FDA requires such as:

  • Calories
  • Total fat
  • Calories from fat
  • Saturated fat
  • Trans fat
  • Carbohydrates
  • Fiber
  • Sugar
  • Added sugars
  • Protein
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin D
  • Iron
  • Potassium



Pictured above, you can see the standard layout of the 2021 panel. This panel must be accompanied by and ingredient statement and an allergen statement for your product to be retail-ready.

What is an Ingredient Statement? 

An ingredient statement lists all of the ingredients in your food product. The FDA requires the ingredient statement to accompany your nutrition label and it has to meet regulation standards in order to be ready for retail sale. This means that the ingredients listed in your product’s ingredient statement must appear in descending order by weight (highest volume to lowest volume).

As you can see, this ingredient statement contains all of the ingredients contained within a food product recipe.

Why Do I Need an Allergen Statement? 

Remember those 32 million Americans we mentioned earlier? When reading through ingredient statements, it’s easy to miss the listing of a common food allergen. And not only that, some ingredients contain food allergens and you would never suspect it! For this reason, the FDA has added the allergen or “contains” statement to the list of requirements for FDA-approved nutrition labeling. Sometimes it’s difficult to determine where an allergen is coming from if you are unfamiliar, so it’s important to use a platform (like LabelCalc) that includes allergen-flagging to cite the allergens within your product.

Once you understand the basics of what’s needed for your nutrition label, it makes the whole process a lot more simple. Check out our beginner’s guide on how to create nutrition panels to get you one step closer to retail! And if you have any questions on how to get started or anything in between, contact us! We’re here to help!


What is LabelCalc?

LabelCalcⓇ is one of FoodCalc LLC’s two nutrition analysis products, created to help meet the needs of the food industry. Based in San Francisco, CA, we are a nationally recognized provider of online nutrition analysis that is fast, accurate, and FDA-compliant.

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