As and industry leading nutrition analysis provider in the food industry, we are all about making the workplace more efficient. Let’s face it, the industry has been a notoriously slow adopter when it comes to technology. Recipes are still in books or excel files instead of a recipe database and many manufacturers are still relying on expensive labs to perform their nutrition analysis, a process that often comes with a lengthy turnaround time. For years, this was how things were done. When we came on the scene 17 years ago, the thought of creating a nutrition facts panel from your home computer was, frankly, bonkers. Where is all of the nutrition information coming from? How do we know it’s accurate? Now 2020, thousands of clients and nearly 2 decades later, manufacturers are seeing the simplicity of these DIY labels and now understand that they are, in fact, completely FDA compliant! However, if you’re one of the technology-adopting food manufacturers who have used platforms such as LabelCalc, you still could feel a bit wary of calculating your own nutritional information and creating a panel. And we get it! Food and nutrition are two very different categories that intersect within this industry. One can truly know one without the other. This is why we 100% recommend that you receive a nutrition label review by a Registered Dietitian. (Did you know we have a few on staff? Well, now you do.)
Accurate Ingredient Entry
Nutrition analysis platforms are notorious for having extensive ingredient databases — and for good reason! But when you are sitting down to match your recipe ingredients with 800,000+ possibilities, the process can become a little daunting. How do I know I’m choosing the right ingredient? Can I use the general database or should I use the branded database? What about any home-made ingredients I may have, should they be sent to a lab before I add them to my recipe?
We know, we know! It’s crazy. And with the reasonable fear of doubt, wondering if you you’re FDA compliant, DIY can sometimes feel a little uncomfortable. Trust us, we’ve answered tens of thousands of your questions over the years. And this is why, when you are doing a DIY label we recommend that you have a nutrition label review performed by our Registered Dietitian.
We often receive questions about home-made or unique ingredients that are coming from specialty suppliers. These ingredients in particular may not have a nutrition panel connected to them or may need to be placed into an entirely separate “sub-recipe” that will support your final recipe. Whatever the case is, your recipe has the potential of being very complicated. For this reason, we will say it again, we recommend you receive a label review. This way, you can have any unique or home-made ingredients reviewed by an industry-experienced Registered Dietitian who will be able to confirm that they were entered correctly and accurately.
The other component of DIY Nutrition panels that can be a little tricky is deciphering whether or not your nutrition analysis reflects the ingredients entered. For example, there are several types of flour to choose from, each with their own unique nutritional analysis attached to them. If you’re using a bread flour, your protein count should naturally be higher due to the extra gluten in the bread. If you’re a chef or a nutritionist, this is something you would be able to quickly pinpoint and adjust based upon your label’s particular needs. However, if you are new to manufacturing and you just have a killer bread recipe (which is AWESOME), you may not know what to look for regarding spotting inaccuracies.
And while the LabelCalc platform in itself is accurate, human error can play a role in determining the accuracy of your nutritional analysis. So this is why, again, we 100% recommend that you allow the trained eyes of a nutrition professional to perform a comprehensive label review to check over your analysis for any inconsistencies. We aren’t dogging DIY (how could we?), but we are saying that human error can (and will) happen from time to time. And when it comes to your nutrition panel and FDA-compliance, making extra-sure that you’re accurate makes all the difference!
Serving has to be the NUMBER ONE subject that we receive questions about, especially from those of you who are breaking down high-volume recipes. How do I figure out my individual serving size? What are servings per container? Why do I need a new label when my packing size changes — it’s the same recipe isn’t it?? If you are going to make a mistake on a DIY label, it’s most likely going to be here.
What most do not realize when creating a label is that the nutritional panel is for the consumer. The whole reason they exist is so that consumers can make educated decisions about the foods they choose to eat. The serving size is determined by the FDA requirements called “RACC’s” which stands for “Recommended Amounts Customarily Consumed”. We actually have a pretty cool CFR tool built-in to LabelCalc to help you determine your recommended serving size per the FDA.
Servings Per Container
The container that this phrase is referring to is the container that the consumer purchases, either online or physically at a retail store. When breaking down large volume, it is not uncommon for us to receive questions about customer labels that reflect entire palettes of food products. To be sure that your servings per container is accurate, you need to know the size of your consumer-facing container and how much volume that single container holds. Then you can determine the servings per container based on the single serving size provided by the FDA RACC recommendations.
We can go on and on about the importance of having a nutrition professional review your label — it’s just that important. And because we recognize the importance we built it straight into our plans. You can easily get a single-label review for $33. We know that DIY is convenient and cost-effective, but we want to provide you with the peace-of-mind that comes with a job well done. So for each label you create, add on a nutrition label review. You’ll be glad you did.