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Nutrition Labelling

Nutrition labelling became mandatory for almost all prepacked foods on 13 December 2016 under Regulation (EU) No. 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers. There are some exemptions from this requirement.

 
What must appear in the nutrition declaration?
Information on the following must be declared per 100g/ml of the final product: Energy (kJ/kcal), Fat (g), Saturates, Carbohydrates (g), Sugars (g), Protein (g) and Salt (g) (see Figure 1).
 
How must the information be presented?
Nutrition information must be presented in a tabular format with the numbers aligned. Where the space on the packaging does not allow for this, the declaration may appear in linear format. If you are considering using a linear format bear in mind that any voluntary information, for example marketing information, must not be displayed to the detriment of space available for mandatory food information. So, you cannot use a linear format in order to fit more marketing information on the label.
 
All elements of the nutrition declaration must be presented together in a clear format and, where appropriate, in the order shown below:

Figure 1: Mandatory nutrients

Typical Values Per 100g/100ml

Energy


kJ/kcal
Fat
 

of which saturates

g

g

Carbohydrates
 

of which sugars

g

g


Protein

g

Salt

g


Does the nutrition information have to be given per 100g/ml only?
No, in addition to the amounts given per 100g/ml, other information can be provided voluntarily:

  • information can be given per portion or consumption unit provided the size and number of portions/consumption units are given. The portion or unit used must be indicated in close proximity to the nutrition declaration (see Figure 2)
  • the percentage Reference Intake (RI) value provided by the nutrients per 100g/ml of the product, and/or per portion/consumption unit, can also be given. RI values are listed in Annex XIII of the legislation (see Figure 3)

If %RIs are given then the following statement must also be displayed in close proximity - ‘Reference intake of an average adult (8,400kJ/2,000kcal)’.

Figure 2: Portion information given in addition to information per 100g

Typical Value Per 100g Per portion* (2 Biscuits)
Energy
  
2065 kJ/495 kcal 604 kJ/160 kcal
Fat
 
of which saturates 
22.3g
 
10.0g
 
6.8g
 
3.0g
 
Carbohydrates
 
of which sugars  
64.6g
 
18.8g
 
20.0g
 
5.8g
 
Protein
  
4.5g 2.0g
Salt
  
0.54g 0.4g

*This pack contains 10 portions
  

 Figure 3: Percentage reference intake values (%RI) per 100g given along with the mandatory statement

Typical Values Per 100g %RI per 100g*
Energy
  
823 kJ/195 kcal
 
10%

Fat

of which saturates

2.6g

0.3g
  

4%

2%
  

Carbohydrates

of which sugars

 37.5g

1.6g


14%

2%
  

Protein
4.5g 9%
Salt
  
0.54g 9%

*Reference intake of an average adult (8400 kJ/2000 kcal)


Can any other nutrients be added to the nutrition declaration?
Yes, you may also include one or more of the following:

Monounsaturates, Polyunsaturates, Polyols, Starch and Fibre.

Just remember, if you’ve made a claim about one of these nutrients then you must include it in the declaration.

Information can also be given on vitamins or minerals, as listed in Annex XIII of the legislation, provided they are present in significant amounts as set out in this Annex. The %RI for vitamins and minerals must be given in addition to the amount. These are also set out in Annex XIII.
 
Nutrients other than those listed above cannot appear in the nutrition declaration as it is considered a closed list. If a claim is made about a nutrient other than these e.g. Omega-3, then the amount of that nutrient must be displayed near to, but not within, the nutrition declaration.
 
Below is an example of how the nutrition declaration might appear where supplementary information is given. The supplementary nutrients are indicated in bold. Remember, you can add one or more of these; you don’t have to include all of them.

 

Typical Values Per 100g/100ml
Energy kJ/kcal
Fat g
of which  
    - saturates g
    - monounsaturates g
    - polyunsaturates g
Carbohydrates g
of which  
    - sugars g
    - polyols g
    - starch g
Fibre g
Protein g
Salt g
Vitamins/Minerals units + %RI

How are nutrient values calculated?
The legislation allows for various methods of calculating the nutrient values. It states that the declared values in the nutrition table are average values and must be based on:

  • the manufacturer's analysis of the food
  •  a calculation from the known or actual average values of the ingredients used; or
  •  a calculation from generally established and accepted data

So, determining the nutrient values does not necessarily require laboratory analysis and it may be possible for a food business operator to calculate the values themselves depending on the type of product. This could be done, for example, using nutrition information from suppliers, nutrition information on the label of the ingredients or using food composition tables, such as McCance and Widdowson (these tables are available on the UK government's website).
 
As mentioned, the nutrient values are average values to take into account the natural variation in foodstuffs due to, for example, seasonality or supplier differences. However, there is EU guidance on the permitted tolerances for nutrient values which should be consulted.
 
The nutrient values must be for the food as sold. However, where appropriate, for example with a dried soup mix, the information may relate to the food after preparation, provided that sufficiently detailed preparation instructions are given and the information relates to the food as prepared for consumption.
 
Can information on nutrient content be given on the front of the pack?
Yes, information can voluntarily be repeated on the front of the pack. This is not a mandatory requirement. However, if a food business chooses to put information on the front of pack only the following can be provided:

  1. Energy per 100g/ml, or
  2. Energy + Fat, Saturates, Sugars and Salt

This repeated information may be provided:

  • per 100g/ml only
  • per 100g/ml and per portion or
  • on a per portion basis only

When providing this ‘Front of Pack’ information, Energy must always be indicated per 100g/ml as a minimum.

 
Further Information
Access more detailed information and guidance documents on the legislation

Last reviewed: 26/7/2018

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