Food labels should be easy for consumers to read and understand but often they are not. So we thought it would be handy to give some advice and information on food labelling. This should help you to understand the labels on many different products on the shelves in Ireland. Any questions just get in touch.
Ingredients: Obviously all products will have a list of ingredients. But what’s good to know is that is has to be descending order; starting with the ingredient used the most and so on. This is worked out in percentage terms so may also see the percentage of some ingredients.
Nutritional info: Nutritional amounts on a product contains information on the amount of calories and key nutrients. This will help you compare and contrast similar products when deciding which one to purchase. It will also help you to keep track of your intake of any particular nutrient or calories.
All nutritional values are given per 100g/100ml. You may also see it done per serving which is handy if a particular product feeds more than one person.
GDA: Guidline Daily Amounts or GDA as it is known is getting more popular and you will see it on more and more food packaging. Although food companies are not legally obliged to display it on packaging. GDA differs for Men and Women and also the size of the person comes into play. So most food labels that have a GDA would give an average that is to be used as a guideline for both Men and Women. Again, as the name suggests it is only a guidline and it will be slightly different for everyone!!
For any product to claim to be low in anything from fats to sugars. They have to adhere to EU regulations on these claims. Here are some of the main ones explained.
Low in Fat – Where the product contains to more than 3g of fat per 100g for solids or 1.5g of fat per 100ml for liquids.
Low in Salt/Sodium: Where the product contains no more than 0.12g of sodium or the equivalent value for salt per 100g or per 100ml for liquids.
With No Added Sugars: Where the product does not contain any added mono-or disaccharides or any other food used for its sweetening properties.
Source of Fibre: Where a product contains at least 3g of Fibre per 100g or at least 1.5g of Fibre per 100kcal
High in Fibre: Where a product contains at least 6g of Fibre per 100g or at least 3g of Fibre per 100kcal.
High in Protein: Where at least 20% of the energy value of the food is provided by protein.