Here at LabelCalc, we are all about supporting our clients — especially when their dreams include becoming a food manufacturer. That being said, if you’ve made it to our site and you are brand new to food manufacturing, welcome! Congratulations on your new venture. It is just as important to us, as it is to you that your food product makes it to the retail shelf, and we’re here to help you get there. You might have gotten to this point by looking for a nutrition label creator that was easy to use or maybe you spoke with someone from our team who recommended you read this article as a precursor to getting started — either way, you’re here because you need to know the basics of nutrition label creation, and maybe even a few pointers on food manufacturing. Well my friend, teamwork makes the dream work! So without further adieu, let’s go through some of the basic information that you will need to know when using our nutrition label creator and nutrition analysis software.
Finding Ingredients in the Database
When you begin building your recipe in the LabelCalc database, you’ll obviously need to know the ingredients and the measurements of the ingredients that make up your secret sauce or breathtaking brownies. You’ll also need to know how much sauce or how many brownies your recipe yields (but we will get to that in a moment).
Essentially, when you are entering your ingredients you’re really matching them with an existing database of ingredients that have all of the nutritional information attached to them. So when you enter your ingredient into the search bar, you’re looking for the ingredient that most closely matches the ingredient in your recipe. And you’ll have options to choose from! You can choose ingredients from a general database or branded ingredients. These ingredients have all been lab tested and input into the database with the proper nutrition values.
For example, if your barbeque sauce recipe includes 1 cup of dark brown sugar, you can go to the “General Ingredient Database” and enter “brown sugar” or “dark brown sugar” into the search bar. From here, you will be given a list of options to choose from. In another scenario, if you know the brand name of the brown sugar you used and would like to use our “Branded Food Products” database, you may do that as well. If your dark brown sugar was manufactured by Domino, simply click the bubble for the branded database, type “dark brown sugar” and a drop-down menu will appear that will show you the brands we have on hand for you to choose from. Select the brand, enter the measurements and move on to your next ingredient! It’s that easy.
But what if I can’t find my ingredient?
No worries, we get asked this question all of the time. In our platform, we have a tab on the left of the screen that is labeled “My Ingredients”. Simply click that tab and a new screen will appear that has space available to type in the nutrition information of your unique ingredient!
PRO TIP: When you’re creating your recipe in the kitchen, save the nutrition labels from the products you use. These contain the information that you will enter for your unique ingredients in order for the nutrition information to be correct.
Still need help? Confused about how to find your ingredients? You can utilize our in-app avatar (her name is A.V.A.) who will greet you at the beginning of each session. If you read her instructions and follow her lead, you will be a pro nutrition label creator in no time!
How do I determine my serving size?
We can not tell you enough how often we get this question and we get it so often because it can be tricky. The FDA has specific rules about food manufacturing and appropriate serving sizes for consumers to consume in one serving. For this reason, you must know your “individual serving size” as well as your “servings per container”. These rules around serving size can be found in the industry guide published on the FDA website.
But… and this is a big one…
We have a CFR tool built into our nutrition label creator that allows you to figure out your serving size according to the rules set by the FDA! (We know, we think it’s cool too. And it saves you a lot of time!) Below you can see the fields of the CFR tool already filled in. (In case you’re wondering, CFR stands for “Code of Federal Regulations”)
And because we have a secret love for our Barbeque Sauce manufacturers, here’s the CFR tool filled in with your specific information:
Determining Servings Per Container
So now that you understand what the FDA requires for a SINGLE serving size, you can calculate how many servings are held within your container. If we keep with the barbeque sauce example, this is how many “2Tbsp” servings are contained within your individual container that you plan to sell on the grocery store shelf or through your website.
First things first, sauce containers come in all shapes and sizes. So go grab your container. If you’re still looking for a container, pull up the container you’re planning on putting your sauce in and look at the capacity. Does it hold 16 ounces? 12 ounces? For the sake of this example, let’s pretend your chosen container holds 12 ounces. With a little simple math, and a quick conversion to ounces, you can easily determine how many servings go into your 12 ounce container.
If 1 serving of barbeque sauce = 2tbsp, and 2 tbsp = approx 1 ounce, then your 12- ounce container will then hold 12 servings. Therefore, your servings per container is 12.This information MUST be filled in to complete your nutrition facts panel with LabelCalc’s nutrition label creator.
After your serving size has been determined, the next step will be citing allergens. This is important when you have a product that contains or has been exposed (let’s not forget about cross-contamination) to any of the Top 8 Allergens. Why? It’s another FDA regulation. But lucky for you, we have an allergen-flagging tool that helps cite any allergens and compile them into the required “allergen statement” that accompanies your nutrition label.
To complete this particular part, we just need transparency. If your product has been exposed to or contains any of these allergens: eggs, wheat, soy, milk, fish, shellfish, tree nuts or peanuts, make sure that you check off the appropriate box to reflect the presence of the allergen. Always take a moment to check your ingredient nutrition panels, especially if you’re entering unique ingredients. This is very important. Sometimes allergens can be lurking in the strangest of items and it’s important to make sure that they are being represented properly if they are present.
Some Tech-y Terms
Not everyone that comes to use LabelCalc’s nutrition label creator is a tech-savvy individual. This might be your very first time using technology outside of your smart phone or your computer for basic office use. Programs can sometimes use references that are unfamiliar to someone who hasn’t grown up with technology at their fingertips. For this reason, we wanted to make sure we covered all of our basis so here we go!
Sometimes, you may hear us say that LabelCalc is “cloud-based” software. This can be confusing. Cloud-based just means that our program exists purely on the internet. When computer programs first came out, and several since then, you’ve either had to order a CD-ROM and download it to your computer OR (more recently) follow a specific link and download the program. To use LabelCalc, all you need is an internet connection. There is nothing to download. Simply go to our website, sign into your account and start using our nutrition label creator.
Because everyone who has an account is coming to our website to access their labels, we’ve also received questions around privacy. Your account is password protected and has a unique username attached to it. Unless you gave your username or password to another person, no one but you can access your account. Your recipes are safe and secure within your own account. The concept is similar to online banking. You have a unique username and password which allows you to access your bank accounts, make changes and transfers, but no one else can see or use your account without your unique login information.
We hope that these basics gave you a little more peace of mind than before you started reading. LabelCalc’s nutrition analysis and nutrition label creator programs are simple to use and come with a ton of support! You may be creating your own nutrition label, but you are never alone! Utilize our tools, A.V.A and our demos on your user dashboard to guide you along in this label creation process.
And if you get stuck or don’t have the time to do-it-yourself, we have a Registered Dietitian on staff that can create your label for you. She’s not free, but totally worth the time and money when you’re in the middle of achieving a dream! If you need us, contact us, we are here to help.
And as always, happy labeling!