It’s easy to get overwhelmed with nutrition facts label specifications. After all, the FDA’s rules are complex, to say the least. Food manufacturers often tell me that when they try to read through all the FDA’s guidelines online, their eyes glaze over and the information fails to sink in. Before they know it, they’ve got way too many tabs open on their computer and are unsure where to look next for guidance.
With this in mind, I’ve come up with three tips for complying with nutrition facts label specifications that are going to streamline the food labeling process and help you stay organized. So, without further adieu, let’s look at my top advice for understanding and implementing nutrition facts label specifications.
Tip #1: Do Your Research
This may seem like an obvious tip, but I’ll explain why it’s here. I talk to a lot of food manufacturers, especially first-time ones, who spend hours on the FDA website searching through long, complex documents in hopes of understanding all the nutrition facts label specifications. While I certainly commend them for their desire to familiarize themselves with the guidelines so they can have a compliant label, this isn’t the best use of their time.
Instead, I recommend finding an online resource that explains the guidelines in simpler, more concise terms. At LabelCalc, for instance, we’ve created a whitepaper guide specifically for helping food manufacturers understand FDA labeling requirements. It is comprehensive and provides visuals that really help one understand what the label specifications are and why. It will save you so much time and you won’t feel the confusion that often arises when you spend hours reading documents on the FDA website.
Tip #2: Speak With an Expert Food Labeling Consultant
Once you’ve read through a labeling guide for food manufacturers, it’s a good idea to speak with an expert labeling consultant. With LabelCalc, our food labeling consultants can help clarify any questions you still have about labeling and inform you of any specific guidelines required for your product. Again, searching the FDA website for your answers can be helpful in some cases, but if you aren’t able to find what you are looking for in 30 minutes or less, don’t waste more time and call a consultant instead. Plus, LabelCalc’s consultants can either review your nutrition facts panel to be sure they are up to snuff or even complete the nutrition analysis for you if you don’t have the time.
Food labeling experts have extensive knowledge about the food manufacturing industry, so they may even be able to give you recommendations for other steps you have to take in order to get your product ready for retail. At LabelCalc, for instance, we have a working relationship with Simply Barcodes and recommend that our clients work with them to get barcodes on their products. This saves our clients the hours they would have spent searching for barcode businesses. Plus, since we know they do an amazing job, our clients get the best service possible.
Tip #3: Use an FDA-Compliant Online Nutrition Analysis Software to Create Your Label
I saved the best for last because this is definitely my greatest tip of them all. Using an FDA-compliant online nutrition analysis software, like LabelCalc, will not only save you so much time in the label creation process, but it will also guarantee that you meet all the nutrition facts label specifications. All you have to do to get an FDA-compliant nutrition facts panel is:
- Determine your serving size and servings per container.
- Create an online account.
- Enter your product recipe.
- Edit your ingredient list so it appears how you’d like it to.
- Download your completed label and print it.
With FDA-compliant online nutrition analysis software, you don’t even really need to know the nutrition facts label specifications because they are built into the software. Therefore, the software automatically creates a perfect nutrition facts panel for you. Plus, creating a panel can take mere minutes, meaning you can move along with the process of getting your product on store shelves.
In addition to saving you time, online nutrition analysis software can also save you a lot of money. Food labs, for instance, can cost upwards of $700 per analysis, and independent consultants that create your label for you can add up to more than $400 per analysis. Online software, on the other hand, costs as little as $225 per product, making it the cheapest option available to food manufacturers.
Keep in mind, though, that if your food product is fried or heavily processed, it will need to go to a lab for chemical analysis. If this is the case, make sure you send your samples to the lab early. Food labs can take up to a month to return results, so factor in that time when scheduling product pitches. For all other types of products, though, online nutrition analysis is the best way to go.
Remember, making your nutrition facts panel does not have to be confusing, complicated, or costly. Using online resources designed specifically for food manufacturers, consulting with a labeling expert, and using an online nutrition analysis software can all help make the process a breeze. After all, as a busy food manufacturer, you’ve got enough on your plate to deal with already.
LabelCalc is an industry-leading online nutrition analysis software that complies with FDA nutrition facts label specifications. To set up an account, contact us today.