So you’re biting the bullet, huh? Out with the old and in with the new. It’s time to update your labels. We know, we know. Labeling can be a very tedious process, unless you have the right tools. LabelCalc provides manufacturers with the opportunity to take their existing labels and translate the information into the updated FDA-approved 2020 format in only a few steps! Forget about re-entering your recipes ingredient by ingredient. As long as you have up-to-date nutrition reporting for your products and haven’t recently changed suppliers, you have everything you need to get your labels made. It’s a trick that we use internally that we think is so valuable, we decided to spill the beans.
Repurposing the Platform
Usually when you want to create a label for your food product, you would begin with the recipe and enter the ingredient, identify the measurement and apply it to your analysis. However, if you already have your nutrition reporting completed and only require a label format update, another nutrition analysis just isn’t necessary. So why waste your time?
By repurposing the existing software features within the LabelCalc program, you can enter your nutrition information, identify your ingredients and translate your format in just a couple steps. Check it out.
Enter Your Nutrition Information
Skip right over the create-a-recipe option and scroll right down to the tab on your dashboard labeled “External Ingredients”. Typically this is the place where you would enter unique ingredients that could not be found in our general or branded databases. However, in the case of a completed label that needs an update, we treat it like it’s an ingredient by filling in the same nutrition information fields.
The form looks just like this:
With exception of the top few fields identifying what the “ingredient” is and who supplies it, this form is created to intake information pulled from a nutrition label. So, if you have a nutrition label that has accurate reporting, but simply needs a format update, you can treat this section like a label updater!
Fill in the fields above with your food product information. Because you are updating a current label, it is important to identify existing allergens that have been cited on your previous labels. Allergen citation is paramount when translating a label. Because you are opting up to update, it is important that the data entry is accurate when repurposing the external ingredient section. When in doubt, opt to create a recipe and enter your ingredients individually in the “create a recipe” tab for a new analysis. We can’t express enough the importance of your nutrition analysis report being reflected accurately.
Check the applicable allergen boxes before moving on to the ingredient statement section. If your food product does not contain allergens, select the box that says “this product does not contain any allergens”.
The ingredient statement must also be reflected according to FDA regulations. The FDA regulations require that ingredients are listed in order of predominance by weight. If you are working off of a previous label, it is highly likely that your ingredient statement is already in descending order. But be sure to check your recipe against your ingredient statement listing. Descending order is simple: Biggest to smallest by grams. Want to check your ingredient measurements just to be sure? Use this gram conversion chart to assist you in assuring that your ingredients are in descending order in the current ingredient statement that you are translating to the updated format.
Nutrition Facts Panel
Once you’ve identified your product name, cited allergens and made sure your ingredient statement is in descending order, it’s time to enter your nutrient values into the nutrition panel. There will likely be fields that will need additional input — again, this NFP hack is for the seasoned manufacturer who has a comprehensive nutrition report and is simply wanting to update their panels to the required 2020 format. If this is not you, skip right to the “Create a Recipe” section and enter your ingredients for a completely new analysis.
Moving on! You’ve got your nutrition report and you’re ready to fill in some fields! Take the information from your nutrition report and begin filling in the sections that you see below, stopping once you’ve entered the value for “protein” (we’ll tell you why in a second).
Calories From Fat
Before we go into why it’s important to stop at protein, let’s make sure you know how to calculate “Calories from Fat” so that you can place a value in that field (if you don’t already have that value). Calculating your “calories from fat” is as simply as multiplying your “Total Fat” by 9. Why 9? Because there are 9 calories in each gram of fat. So if the total fat for your recipe was “10 grams” your “calories from fat” would be 90.
Updating Your DV%
Once you’ve reached the vitamin/mineral portion of your label update, it’s important to note that your previous DV% will not be accurate from your previous label because the FDA regulations for the DV% have changed. For this reason, you’ll have to refer to your original nutrition analysis report for your product. According to the current FDA Regulations, the Updated Nutrient Requirements are as follows:
Vitamin A&D DV% Conversion
The FDA has made an interesting switch in the units of measure around Vitamin A. As you can see from the bottom of the chart on the right, the Vitamin A measurement has changed from IU (international units) to mcg RAE (micrograms, Retinol Activity Equivalents). Hang in there with us, don’t be put off by the name — all you need to know is how to convert them.
Vitamin D has also changed from IU to mcg. Thankfully for you, resources like this label conversion calculator are available to make these conversions go a lot quicker.
Let’s do the first one together. Grab your nutrition analysis report for your food product and find the value for Vitamin A. It’s likely written in IU. Let’s pretend that your food product contained 100 IU of Vitamin A. Using this conversion calculator, enter in the values to complete the conversion to the updated 2020 requirements.
Converting Values into Current DV %
Let’s go back to math class for a quick second. If we take our value for Vitamin D above (100 IU now converted into 2.5 mcg), we now need to update that value to the current DV% to be entered into the final LabelCalc fields. If the new DV for Vitamin D has changed to 20mcg, that means we simply divide our 2.5mcg value into 100mcg.
2.5mcg/20mg = 0.125
So our updated value in our example for Vitamin D is 12.5%. You can use this example to update your DV% for all the required nutrients on your 2020 label. All except iron, iron stays the same. Simply copy that value straight into the field and you’re good to go!
(You may also utilize the 100g Unrounded Tab and enter your values there. Follow the remaining steps no matter what route you choose)
Once these conversions have been made, you are ready to “create a recipe” AKA ‘convert your label”. Follow the steps below:
- Go to your “Create a recipe tab” and enter your recipe name once again.
- On the Ingredients Page, select the “My Ingredients/Subrecipes” bubble (uncheck the others)
- Type in your Recipe name
- Select Your Recipe from the Dropdown
- Add your single serving size into the measurement option, click “Save & Continue”
- Identify the servings per container in your product container
- Identify the individual serving size of your product (hit save & continue)
- On the Allergens & Ingredients tab, remove the “recipe name” from your ingredient statement.
- Select “Make all uppercase” or “Make all lowercase”
- Choose Your Label format.
- Select “include ingredient & allergen statement”
- Select “Download Your Label” OR Hit Submit for review (this is our recommendation so you can have your label reviewed by our nutrition team to assure that your values have been entered correctly and your label has been successfully updated to 2020 FDA standards without error.)
And you’re done! You’ve successfully completed your first label update. Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, it takes only a few minutes to update any subsequent labels.