My Food Label: Optional Nutrients To Include in My Nutrition Facts Label

Posted on March 21, 2013 by

Most of you are quite familiar with the standard nutrition fact label. It includes your typical nutrients: Calories, Calories from Fat, Fat, Saturated and Trans Fats, Cholesterol, Sodium, Carbs, Fiber, Sugar, Protein, and the four basic vitamins, A, C, Calcium, and Iron.

However, there are many options, from the aesthetic to the practical options like the nutrition fact label format and optional nutrients. We've covered choosing the right label format, so we won't get into it again here. Instead we'll cover when to include optional nutrients, and when they're not so optional. For your own fun and education it may help to follow along with our sample label.

Aesthetic Options

First, there are the purely aesthetic options. In the 'Label Options' dropdown (on the sample label page), you can change the font and background color and adjust the width of the label. The goal here is simply for the label to look nice on your packaging - just make sure it stays easy to read and don't go too crazy with the colors!

In that same 'Label Options' dropdown there are options to add, remove, or move the footnote section of the label. This section is not mandatory, so it's allowed to be removed if you don't have space for it. However, it is a nice reference for customers, so it is included with the default label. There are small informational notes next to each option that explain when and why to use them, so you can figure it out as you go.

Optional Nutrients

Next, we have the 'Optional Nutrients' dropdown. For the most part, these additional nutrient details are optional. However, we still have to follow what I call the Golden Rule, which is that if you make any sort of nutrient claim on your packaging, you have to include the nutrient for which that claim relates. For example, if you make a claim like 'High in Potassium' somewhere on your label, then you better include Potassium in your nutrition fact label. Again, the little notes next to each option explain when each option applies.

Optional Vitamins

Lastly, we have the 'Optional Vitamins' dropdown. These are all optional, except if you add a particular vitamin as a supplement to your recipe or if you make a claim about that vitamin (here is the Golden Rule, again).

Takeaways and Our Approach

That's the basics and they'll cover you in 99% of food labeling situations. When in doubt, feel free to ask us. The nice thing about ReciPal is that we designed it with built-in answers to the basic labeling questions. On top of that we only show you options that are available given your recipe's nutrient analysis - so we'll only present the option to switch to a simplified format if you qualify for it, and only present the option to show an optional nutrient if the data is available. We like to think it simplifies the otherwise complex process of creating the proper nutrition fact label for your food label, and let's you get back to your real business - making delicious food for us :)

About Lev Berlin

Lev Berlin ReciPal SlantShack Author Bio

Lev Berlin is the founder & CEO of ReciPal. Having previously been a founder of SlantShack Jerky, he needed nutrition labels and simple tools to start and run the business. He's read the FDA food labeling code countless times in the process of creating ReciPal and helping small food businesses with their labels. He's reviewed and created thousands of food labels, and been a mentor and guest speaker at food incubators, food business courses, and regulatory conferences, like Brooklyn Foodworks and ICE.

After graduating from Princeton with an engineering degree, Lev was a management consultant, then founder or early employee at half a dozen startups. He loves nothing more than helping other small businesses get off the ground and achieve their goals.

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Getting Started With Food Labels Features Labeling Rules And Guidelines Tips And Tricks Database Nutrition Analysis
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