Labeling Spices, Flavors & Colors in Food Ingredient Lists

Posted on December 12, 2014 by

Arguably more important than a nutrition label is the ingredient list on food packaging. Consumers may not care exactly how many grams of fat is in their food, but they get nervous when they're eating an ingredient that they can't pronounce.

Ingredient List Rules and Exemptions

Ingredient lists are supposed to list all the ingredients in a product in descending weight order, so the most predominant ingredient first and the least predominant ingredient last. However, food companies don't want to divulge all their secrets to others, particularly with spices, flavorings and those pinches and dashes that make all the difference.

To that end, the FDA allows certain spices and flavorings to be grouped together and listed as "spices", "flavors", "natural flavors", and "artificial flavors", and on top of that ingredients that make up less than 2% of a product can be listed at the end and not necessarily in order of predominance.

Food product ingredient list spices and less than 2% ingredients

Making something like this just got a lot easier.

Creating Compliant Ingredient Lists, Made Easier

So, we made some recent changes to the way our ingredient lists are constructed, with the option to designate ingredients as spices, flavors, and colors and also break off the ingredients that are less than 2% of the recipe. This adds a bit more flexibility to the ingredient list without having to manually go in and update the ingredient list over and over, which can be time-consuming and brittle when you have lots of ingredients and recipes.

Future Ingredient List Updates

What other changes do you make to your ingredient lists? How can we make that easier to manage? Let us know in the comments below!

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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