Nutrition Labeling Software
As a food manufacturing plant you are required to provide a Nutrition Facts Panel on food packages especially if the food is sold via retail operations. There are many reasons for providing this type of information on the package for the consumer.
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How do consumers use the food label on packaging?
With a more health conscious consumer food manufacturers need to provide easy to read food packaging with target claims to make the product more appealing. For example if a certain food qualifies for a particular nutrient claim--maybe it is high in fiber then stating that in clear format on the packaging will ensure that your message is received by the audience. In addition consumers also look at the ingredient statement for details on any allergens or particular ingredients that they may need to avoid due to any medical illness or health concern. You might also want to list helpful MyPyramid guidelines or information suitable for diabetics on the food package if appropriate.
People want to know what's in the food they eat!
Not only do people want to know what's in the food they eat, the government wants you to provide the consumer with appropriate and accurate information. Ingredients need to be listed for public awareness as well as for allergy reasons. In addition a food label will list all the mandatory nutrients on the panel like: Total Calories, Total Fat, Saturated fat, Trans fat, Cholesterol, Sodium, Total Carbohydrate, Sugar, Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium and Iron. Some specialty products could even list other information for people following specific diet plans such as gluten free, vegan, special weight loss point plans, etc.
Detailed nutrient values on the food label are important for consumers trying to following a certain meal plan. For example if a diabetic is asked to follow a meal plan of 1800 calories per day then the Nutrition Facts Panel or Food Label on the package will allow this consumer to plan out his or her day by selecting the right amount of food based on the total calories listed on the package for each serving. It is not only important for food manufactures to provide this type of data to the consumers but many restaurants are also making nutrition data available on their websites so consumers can make better choices and follow health and diet guidelines recommended to them by their physicians, dietitians, nutritionists etc.
As a food manufacturer or food service establishment there are a couple of options available to properly analyze individual recipes for their nutrition content. One option is to have the food chemically analyzed in a laboratory which can be very expensive and will need to be analyzed for each food item. The other option that the food industry has been using for many decades is using a standard nutrient database and software package that allows them to analyze recipes based on individual ingredients. This option is most cost effective especially if you are testing any recipes in your test kitchens or making changes to the recipe. The software package will be able to show you what would happen if an ingredient is removed from the recipe or switched with another ingredient. Of course in some cases laboratory analysis is needed and today many companies also use a combination of both lab and software packages. The 3rd option is to contract this service out to dietitians who can make this project easier to manage. They are the nutrition experts and can in most cases also outline the best alternative for your product line. This last option maybe more expensive but will probably save your in house team resources and time. To determine your exact needs research the various options available and then select the one most appropriate for your organization.
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