Nutrition Label vs Supplement Label

Nutrition Label vs Supplement Label: Understanding the Differences

It’s important for food manufacturers to understand the difference between nutrition labels and supplement labels.

It’s important for food manufacturers to understand the difference between nutrition labels and supplement labels. Image sources: Free Stock Photos (left) and Flickr user Mike Mozart (right).

Nutrition labeling is a whole new world for folks just starting out in the food manufacturing industry. There certainly is a lot to figure out when it comes to FDA labeling guidelines, from formatting the nutrition facts panel to creating the ingredient list. Many people become overwhelmed with it all, but eventually, they learn that food labeling isn’t as difficult and tedious as it seems at first. As long as you know the basics, the rest will fall into place easily.

When I refer to the basics of nutrition labeling, one thing that comes to mind is knowing the difference between the types of labels out there—namely, nutrition labels vs. supplement labels. After all, it’s important to distinguish between the two so you don’t accidentally use the wrong software to make your food label or confuse the guidelines for the two.

Nutrition Label vs. Supplement Label Comparison

To the untrained eye, nutrition labels and dietary supplement labels look very similar. They require the same kind of basic nutrient information, including fats, proteins, carbohydrates, sugars, fiber, and so on. But if you look more closely, you will see that nutrition facts and dietary supplement facts are indeed quite different.

Here are a few of the major ways that the two types of labels are distinct:

  • For supplement facts, the dietary ingredients in the product that don’t have Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) or Dietary Reference Values (DRV) must be listed with a footnote indicating that an RDI hasn’t been established for that nutrient. Nutrition facts panels only require that the nutrients with established RDIs be listed.
  • Dietary supplement facts allow the source of the dietary ingredient to be listed alongside it, while nutrition facts do not permit this. For instance, a dietary supplement panel may list collagen from grass-fed cows as an ingredient, while a food label may only indicate “collagen.”
  • With dietary supplement facts, the particular part of a plant has to be listed to indicate how the dietary source was derived, whereas this info isn’t allowed for nutrition facts. An example would be the use of rose in a product. If a supplement contained rose as an ingredient, it would have to state what part of the rose the extract came from (i.e. “extract of rose petal”). On a nutrition label, however, it would just appear as “rose.”
  • Nutrition facts require the use of “0” to indicate the amount of nutrients in a food if it lacks that particular nutrient. For dietary supplement facts, the use of “0” is not permitted.

Now, you by no means have to become an expert in supplement labels, but by learning about both kinds of labels, you can understand the nutrition facts panel a little better. Hopefully, this will help you feel more confident with making the nutrition facts panel for your food product.  

Creating Nutrition Facts Panels with Confidence

Now that you know the difference between nutrition labels and dietary supplement labels, you can be sure you make the right kind of label for your product. Luckily, you don’t have to know all the ins and outs of the nutrition facts panel in order to make one. While it certainly helps to understand FDA regulations, there is an easy way to create a nutrition facts panel that doesn’t require a lot of prior knowledge.

Using an online nutrition analysis software, like LabelCalc to create your nutrition facts panel is by far the simplest way to make a label for your food product. The FDA-compliant label template is already in place, so all you have to do is enter your recipe, figure out your serving size and servings per package, and watch as your label is generated. What’s great is that the whole process can take as little as five minutes per recipe. And if you get lost or confused, a labeling consultant can answer your questions or even do the analysis for you.

As a busy food manufacturer, you have a lot to worry about, from recipe testing to sourcing packaging and finding a distributor for your product. That’s why it’s important to choose an online software that makes FDA-compliant nutrition facts panels. Not only will it save you a bunch of time, but it will ensure that you have the right label formatting for your food product. Plus, you won’t have to worry about mixing up nutrition label guidelines with dietary supplement labels at all.

LabelCalc is an industry-leading online nutrition analysis software trusted by food manufacturers of all sizes. To learn more, contact us today.

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