Skip to main content

Why food labelling and Packages are importants

Labels are the ID for products we buy. They give us information about where the food has been produced, when and how it has been harvested. Besides, it tells us the product benefits, how to eat and eat and how to use and shelf life. While the labels are the ID for products, packages are the company’s sales assistants, including all the mentioned labels. Companies design attractive packages that must lead us to buy. To conclude, the package protects the products from damages during delivery and handling, and it helps with the retention of aroma and flavours.

       The Food Labelling Regulations of 1996

It consists of nine parts and six statutory. That also give specific guidelines to everyone who produces and sell packed food. By the law, packed food must provide a label with particular mandatory in different package areas. We must find the front: Name, appropriately durability indication expresses as “best before” or “Use By”, warnings, and quantity. Besides, we have information that can be present in any other area of the package, such as special storage or condition, cooking instructions, manufacturer details, lot number and ingredients if more than two.

      Labels are a great source of information.

Consequently, they are a tool that helps us to eat healthily and manage our weight. We also have information about allergens and specific mandatory details about nutritional value. From the nutritional value, we can calculate our macronutrients and energy intake. However, the label must always be evident, visible, and not misleading advertising and permanent.

FSA (Food Standard Agency)  says labels must be clear, visible, permanent and should not mislead the consumers. There are mandatory that must be present and on the package’s front, others on any other side of the box.

Let’s have a double-check at this label. Starting from the first column, we find The “Nutrient”, the value for each 10og of food, the value for a portion and the Daily references intake.

Comparing different labels can be challenging initially, but definitely, it will come automatically in a couple of weeks. You will be surprised to know that 100g of Chicken and Lentil Dalai have fewer calories than one chocolate snack, more proteins and fewer sugars.

You will be surprised to know that a Red Bull has about 27g of harmful sugars, the same as 100g of Granola. That does not mean you should eliminate a chocolate snack or a Red Bull from your diet, but you can avoid them or reduce the amount. However, checking labels will give you an overview of what you put in your body and how much. That will help you stay on track with your calories and stay healthier.

 

Nutritional information

Check recipe’s nutritional label

Nutrient Value per 100g Value per portion (189 g) DRI percentageinfo_outline
Energy 191 kcal 360 kcal 18 %
Protein 10 g 19 g 39 %
Carbohydrate 36 g 68 g 26 %
Sugars 2 g 3 g 3 %
Fat 2 g 3 g 5 %
Fatty acids, total saturated 0 g 1 g 3 %
Fiber 1 g 2 g 10 %
Sodium 532 mg 1004 mg 42 %

Front of the Package

  • Name of the Product, for example, “Penne Pasta.”
  • Expires dates such as “best before” or “best by”
  •  Necessary Warnings
  • Quantity  about the food there is inside the package

In any side package

  • Instructions about cooking and storage.
  • Details of the manufactures
  • Information about allergens
  •  Information about any additives present in the products with related warning
  •  Ingredients list

Further information that must be illustrated when applying

  • The amount of alcohol is more than 1.2 %.
  • If the food has been radiated or genetically modified above the 0.9 %.
  •   If any gas has been used for packaging the products

 

GUIDANCE The Reference Intake (RI) replaced the Guideline Daily Amount (GDA), although the principles are the same

The Reference intake in any label tells us the average amount of energy we should get daily from food and consume the product bought. We find a table with all the Macronutrients and their amount, including energy—Approx 2000 cal for adults. Besides the Macronutrient, we can see the amount of salt. As I said above, that is very important because it leads us to healthy use of the product and keeps a healthy weight.

In conclusion, the RI tells us about the energy we should get every day, approximately 2000 cal for adults, and how much the product is given to us.

Today we see a lot of advertising that sometimes mislead us. On top of that, it is easy to find unhealthy food at any corner. Anyway, let’s have a look at some photos to identify the following:

  • No Added Sugar. That means the companies do not add any sugar to their recipes, but the sugar is still high compared to the government guideline.
  • Reduced-Fat. Same as above. A mayonnaise bottle probably does not have any extra fat, or the producer reduced the fat from their original recipe. However, the amount of fat is still high.
  • Low-Fat means the food should contain no more than 3g of fat, 100g for solids fat, and less than 1.5g for liquid.
  • Appealing slogans such as “all-natural“, “made with real fruit”, and similar. These slogans said the company used natural products of real fruits, but if look at the label, probably the quantity of natural fruit used consists of a minimum amount.
  • Gluten-Free. Today is very trendy for many companies to claim gluten-free foods as healthy. Gluten is an essential protein, and we should not take it off our diet unless we have health conditions. Besides, Many companies specify that the product is gluten-free and probably charge extra money, even for naturally gluten-free products such as rice and many grains.

These are only a few examples. Breakfast Cereals have a lot of health claims such as “Source of vitamins”, “Vitamins A”, “Extra Iron”. However, the amount of added vitamins and minerals is very little or nothing.

To summarise, while the label is the ID for any product, the package is the sales assistant. Labels give us all the information we need to stay in control of what we put in our bodies.

 

More labelling information can be found on the following websites.

The Livewell NHS page gives a good explanation of labelling, and it is accessible to everyone. In this link, we analyse the labels not from the legal point of view but for the relationship between brands and healthy eating. The link gives a reasonable explanation about the nutritional value and how to use the information to maintain a healthy eating habit.

Summarise labels and packages are ID for products and sale assistant for the producers. They are powerful tools to check our daily intake and stay in control of our weight. On the other hand, it helps producers comply with the law, assure a safe product for consumers, and promote the products on the marketing.

 

 

Rosario

Nutritional Counsellor| specialised in Mental Helth and Eating Disorder| | Food Production

Leave a Reply