Creating a nutrition facts panel for the first time can be overwhelming. While the process itself doesn’t need to be difficult, many first-time food manufacturers get hung up on their fear of making a mistake and ending up with an incorrect nutrition label that doesn’t accurately reflect the nutritional values of their product.
With the right information and the right nutrition analysis tools, though, food manufacturers can easily avoid making incorrect nutrition labels. Let’s take a look at the three most common mistakes food manufacturers make when creating a nutrition facts panel and how to avoid them in order to create the perfect, FDA-compliant nutrition facts panel for your product.
Mistake #1: Using a Free Online Software
There are a lot of brands of nutrition analysis software out there on the internet, but they are not all created equal. In fact, the majority of these programs are meant to be used by individuals who are counting calories for personal health reasons, not by food manufacturers looking to create FDA-compliant nutrition facts panels for their food products. Nonetheless, many first-time food manufacturers gravitate towards these free software programs because of budget limitations.
There are a number of problems with using free software. First, the software likely does not have the latest, FDA-compliant version of the nutrition facts panel, so there is no guarantee that your label will be formatted correctly or even contain the required information. Second, free software typically doesn’t offer password-protected accounts, which means the recipe for your top-secret product recipe may not be safe. Finally, since free software isn’t held to any kind of standard, the results it yields may not even be accurate—which brings me to the next common mistake.
Mistake #2: Adding the Wrong Ingredients
This mistake goes hand in hand with using a free online software, as these programs often don’t have large, diverse databases of ingredients. So, if you are trying to enter your recipe and can’t find the exact ingredient you need in the database (i.e. raw sunflower seed butter), you might enter the next best thing. In this case, it could be roasted sunflower seeds. Before you know it, most of the ingredients in your recipe are misrepresented and the results of your recipe analysis are inaccurate. The unfortunate thing is that you likely won’t be aware of just how skewed your results are and you’ll end up presenting misleading nutrition information to your customers.
To avoid this mistake and end up with the most accurate nutrition results possible, look for a paid version of nutrition analysis software that has an extensive USDA-compiled database of ingredients. Anything with more than 18,000 ingredients is great. In the off-chance that your recipe contains an ingredient that the database doesn’t have, some software offers proprietary ingredient analysis that allows you to add in the missing ingredient and its accompanying nutrition information to the database. This way, you’ll never run into an ingredient you absolutely can’t use.
Mistake #3: Not Using the FDA Rounding Rules
The final mistake I’m going to discuss is not using the FDA rounding rules properly on the nutrition facts panel. Rounding rules are one of those things that are easy to overlook, especially if you aren’t using an online software that rounds the results automatically. So, if you are using a free software and your results have decimal points, I suggest looking for a paid software that has the rounding rules programmed in already. Rounding your nutrition results is not something you want to do on your own, as it can be confusing and there is a lot of room for error. The best nutrition analysis software gives users the option to have their values rounded automatically to comply with FDA rules.
Using Industry Approved Online Nutrition Analysis Software to Create the Perfect Label
It is relatively simple to avoid the common mistakes food manufacturers make when creating their nutrition facts panel. The simplest way to do so is by using a paid, FDA-compliant online nutrition analysis software that has been created specifically for food manufacturers.
While it certainly is appealing to create your nutrition facts panels for free, trust me when I say that it is a better investment for your business to use a paid software to create a perfect label rather than being penalized by the FDA or called out by your customers for not having an accurate or compliant panel. Plus, with software like LabelCalc, creating your nutrition facts panel doesn’t have to be expensive—it only costs $225 per product analysis. And when it comes to your nutrition facts panel, having peace of mind that your panel is compliant and accurate is priceless.
LabelCalc is an industry-leading online nutrition analysis software trusted by food manufacturers of all sizes. Contact us today to learn more. Short on time or staff? Our expert consultants can do the work for you!