How to Determine Serving Size for Food Products

How do I determine my product’s serving size? If you have found yourself wondering this aloud to yourself, you are in good company. This is one of the most commonly asked questions that we receive from our food manufacturing clients, and for good reason. Determining product serving size isn’t a feat to be approached flippantly, there are rules and guidelines set forth by the FDA that must be adhered to for this very crucial part of your nutrition label creation process. For this reason, we felt that it was important to offer you the tools to determine the correct serving size for your food products through this article and our Determining Serving Size Guide.

What is a Serving Size?

Simply put, a serving size is a single-portion serving of your product recipe. The serving size of your product must be reflected on your nutrition label along with the appropriate unit of measure, nutrition information for a single serving size and servings per container. Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t be. We’re going to break it all down.

How to Determine Serving Size

Determining serving size is as simple as understanding the FDA guidelines around appropriate portion sizes for food products. Individual serving sizes can be found on the FDA RACC Table. (Download our Determining Serving Size guide and scroll to page 3 to view the complete guide at a quick glance, go ahead, we’ll wait here 🙂 RACC stands for Recommended Amounts Customarily Consumed. And that’s just fancy phrasing that means “how much an individual should be consuming of that particular product in a single sitting”.

If you refer to the serving size guide we’ve provided, on page 3 (pictured below) you will find a list of bakery items listed with measurements (in grams) of what the FDA has deemed appropriate for serving size. For example, if you were manufacturer of biscuits, the appropriate size of a single biscuit is approximately 55g. This is the product weight that is recommended by the FDA according to the RACC chart.

Label Statement VS. Reference Amount

In the above photo, you can see that there are 2 descriptions for each product category: “Reference amount” and “Label Statement”. The reference amount refers to the weight of your single serving size. The label statement refers to what needs to be stated on the nutrition label. In the case of our biscuit example, a single serving of biscuit should weigh approximately 55g, however, on the nutrition label itself you may also refer to the single serving as “piece” or even “biscuit”. (If your individual biscuit size is going to exceed 55g, the nutrition reported on the label will still be reflective of the 55g weight, however, the number of servings will change. For example, if you are making over-sized biscuits that are 110g for an individual biscuit, your over-sized biscuit is actually 2 servings according to the FDA. Make sense?)

If you still have any confusion around appropriate serving size for your food product, be sure to utilize our free CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) Tool found right in our app!

Servings Per Container

Servings per container refers to the amount of individual servings contained within your chosen food product package. For example, if your product package contained 5 biscuits weighing 55g each, then your servings per container would be 5. (If you refer to our “oversized biscuit example”, if your product package contained 5 biscuits weighing 110g each, then your servings per container would double to 10.) The amount of serving per container will also be reflected on your product’s nutrition label next to the serving size and appropriate measurement of an individual serving.

Still have a few questions about serving size? REGISTER HERE for our next Live Labeling Event! Our free event will cover any questions you may have about serving size and beyond via a LIVE Q&A with our team! We hope to see you there!

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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