Easier Ingredient Lists for Food Products

Posted on July 07, 2014 by

We have a lot of projects going on at ReciPal, from building an inventory management tool, to simplifying the recipe and nutrition label creation process, to adding more nutrition label formats.

One project we’ve been planning for a while is improving the approach for setting ingredient lists. The FDA requires ingredients to be listed descending weight order and to list any subingredients within those ingredients.

Prioritizing The Ingredient List

First, we want to make it abundantly clear in our process that the ingredient list should be updated before finalizing a food label. Ingredient names are often very specific, so users should change them to common names that consumers will recognize, and also include any subingredients as mentioned above.

For example, our regular sugar is listed as "Sugars, granulated", which should be changed to just "Sugar".

So, as a first step we made the ingredient list page come after recipe creation instead of jumping directly to the nutrition label. Once the ingredient list is complete you can head to the nutrition label.

FDA Ingredient Lists

Ingredient lists should be set before finalizing your label.

Saving Ingredient Names

Another step is to be able to save how you want certain ingredients to be listed. So, if you update “Honey” to be listed as “Raw Organic Wildflower Honey”, the next time you use that ingredient in a recipe it will automatically be listed as “Raw Organic Wildflower Honey”. If you have 20 recipes that use the same kind of flour, this might just keep your head from exploding when setting all those ingredient lists.

We added a few bells and whistles to the ingredient lists on top of this – mainly for subrecipes so their ingredient lists will automatically flow through to the recipes that they’re in.

Final Thoughts on Ingredient Lists

For folks that have lots of recipes with similar ingredients, this is a huge timesaver. For more casual users it makes the process more clear and user-friendly. It’s been a long time coming, but we’re glad that time has come. Hopefully you are too.

There’s still more to come on this (keep your eyes peeled!), but this is a good first step in making ingredient lists easier to manage.

Keep letting us know how we can improve ReciPal. So many ReciPal features and updates have come directly from our fantastic (and inspiring and creative) users. I hope that it continues. Together we can make nutrition labeling as easy as possible. I know that got a little emotional, but it’s true.

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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