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Food Labelling Explained

Labelling on food packaging helps both manufacturers and customer alike. The introduction of Food Labelling Regulations by the European Union in 1996, made it a legal requirement to include certain information on all food labelling on pre-packaged items. This helps to protect consumers and give them the information they need about what is in their food.

Information required by law includes:

 

  • Manufacturer’s name
  • Name of the product
  • Description of the product
  • Weight
  • Ingredients – These have to be listed in descending order of weight and subsequently the highest percentages within the product
  • Cooking/Heating instructions
  • Storage instructions
  • Expected shelf life
  • Place of origin
  • Allergy information – This includes any warnings about the environment or factory that the food was produced and packed in

 

Manufacturers and companies often include additional information such as:

 

  • Illustration or photograph of the product – This is often shown as a serving suggestion
  • Recommended retail price
  • Nutritional values of the product
  • Customer guarantee
  • The batch-code and bar-code numbers
  • Opening instructions

 

Nutritional Values

Nutritional values provide information on a products ingredients. This is particularly useful for those with specific dietary requirements and conditions which are affected by the food we eat. These can include coeliac disease and gluten intolerances.

Labelling information usually includes statistics and figures about the nutritional values of the food, including energy and calories. They are usually displayed as kilojoules (kJ) or kilocalories (kcal) within a table. There are also values of protein, carbohydrates, fat, saturated fat, sugars, sodium and salt levels. These are usually displayed per 100g and also for the recommended portion size.

The traffic light system

The Food Standards Agency have also devised a traffic light system and the majority of large supermarkets have incorporated this into their own brand ranges. The traffic light system is a clear and simple diagram using colour coding. It informs customers about the nutritional content of the food they are purchasing. It also helps people make healthier decisions when they are choosing items as they can compare the coloured segments on the diagram.

  • Red means the level is high
  • Amber is medium
  • Green is low

Items with mostly green segments are healthier than food with more amber and red segments.

In addition to the colours, it also gives percentages of your recommended intakes of fat, sugars and salt. This is often on the front of the primary packaging and given per portion so that you can see what is in the food you are consuming.

Other information

Food labelling also needs to contain warning dates such as ‘use by’ and best before’. This helps the consumer know whether the food is safe to eat or if it has past its prime condition. Often food items will have additional information such as ‘display until’ and ‘sell by’. This is for use by retailers and shop staff doing stock rotation and price reductions.


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Food Labelling Explained

Labelling on food packaging helps both manufacturers and customer alike. The introduction of Food Labelling Regulations by the European Union in 1996, made it a legal requirement to include certain information on all food labelling on pre-packaged items. This helps to protect consumers and give them the information they need about what is in their food.

Information required by law includes:

 

  • Manufacturer’s name
  • Name of the product
  • Description of the product
  • Weight
  • Ingredients – These have to be listed in descending order of weight and subsequently the highest percentages within the product
  • Cooking/Heating instructions
  • Storage instructions
  • Expected shelf life
  • Place of origin
  • Allergy information – This includes any warnings about the environment or factory that the food was produced and packed in

 

Manufacturers and companies often include additional information such as:

 

  • Illustration or photograph of the product – This is often shown as a serving suggestion
  • Recommended retail price
  • Nutritional values of the product
  • Customer guarantee
  • The batch-code and bar-code numbers
  • Opening instructions

 

Nutritional Values

Nutritional values provide information on a products ingredients. This is particularly useful for those with specific dietary requirements and conditions which are affected by the food we eat. These can include coeliac disease and gluten intolerances.

Labelling information usually includes statistics and figures about the nutritional values of the food, including energy and calories. They are usually displayed as kilojoules (kJ) or kilocalories (kcal) within a table. There are also values of protein, carbohydrates, fat, saturated fat, sugars, sodium and salt levels. These are usually displayed per 100g and also for the recommended portion size.

The traffic light system

The Food Standards Agency have also devised a traffic light system and the majority of large supermarkets have incorporated this into their own brand ranges. The traffic light system is a clear and simple diagram using colour coding. It informs customers about the nutritional content of the food they are purchasing. It also helps people make healthier decisions when they are choosing items as they can compare the coloured segments on the diagram.

  • Red means the level is high
  • Amber is medium
  • Green is low

Items with mostly green segments are healthier than food with more amber and red segments.

In addition to the colours, it also gives percentages of your recommended intakes of fat, sugars and salt. This is often on the front of the primary packaging and given per portion so that you can see what is in the food you are consuming.

Other information

Food labelling also needs to contain warning dates such as ‘use by’ and best before’. This helps the consumer know whether the food is safe to eat or if it has past its prime condition. Often food items will have additional information such as ‘display until’ and ‘sell by’. This is for use by retailers and shop staff doing stock rotation and price reductions.


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