How to Calculate Nutrition Data Using Excel or Open Office Calc


European Directive 1169/2011 comes into force on December 13, 2016. The first phase of this directive came into force on December 13, 2014, but the second phase requires nutrition data, which raises the question of how to calculate this data.

The first phase of this regulation required that all ingredients on the labels include information on allergens in the list of ingredients. Prior to this regulation, it was legally acceptable to include information on allergens in a separate area of ​​your label.

The new regulation simply requires that allergens be highlighted in the ingredient list of the product, but the ingredients must also be listed in a quantitative order.

The quantitative order simply means that the largest constituent ingredient must be listed first, then the second largest, and so on. The percentages of these ingredients must also be included.

There are many ways to highlight the ingredients. Users can use bold text, underline the color of the text or text in italics

Fourteen allergens should be listed on the label if they are present in the ingredients of the product. These include wheat, oats or any other gluten-containing cereal, as well as milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, molluscs, to name a few.

Another aspect of the legislation was to harmonize the readability of the text on food labels.

Historically, the text could be incredibly difficult to read as manufacturers piled up as much information as possible in a label section as small as possible to maximize the marketing potential of the rest of the etiquette.

The new regulation requires that all text be legible with a specific height of the letter "x" in the font must not be less than 1.2 millimeter. In simple terms, this means that the standard Arial or Times New Roman font must have 6.5 points and its size.

The second phase of the regulation coming into force in December requires nutritional data to be provided with all prepackaged foods so that consumers can make nutrition choices in the foods they buy.

The law states that this information must be communicated to the customer per 100 grams.

It is also possible to transmit more information per portion. So, for example, a sandwich would be a portion so that a food producer can provide information about the entire sandwich. The food producer may also indicate the nutritional values ​​in a portion, for example a biscuit or a small piece of chocolate. But the food producer must also provide the information in a format per 100 g in all cases.

How to calculate nutrition data
In order to calculate the nutritional values ​​of pre-packaged foods for sale to the public, food production companies need to know the nutritional values ​​of the ingredients that make up their products. The best way to show how to calculate nutritional data may be to give an example. a ham and mustard sandwich.

A ham and mustard sandwich can be composed of four ingredients; we will have bread, ham, mustard and margarine or butter to make a sandwich. Each of these ingredients will be incorporated as a recipe; that is to say that there will be a specific weight of each product to constitute a standard product.

Food manufacturers need to start with the basic nutrition data for each of the ingredients – as indicated, the legislation requires that nutrition data be provided per 100 grams. As all manufacturers are required to do, most food producers should be able to obtain this information directly from the packaging of the products they purchase or by talking to their supplier.

In our example, the food producer could compile the constituent ingredient data into a table. The information to be transmitted includes energy in kilojoules and kilocalories; they must also carry total fats, saturated fats, carbohydrates, sugar, proteins and salt, all in grams.

Food producers can also indicate monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, polyols and starch (which are carbohydrates) and fibers if they wish.

The order of the nutrients is specific and must be respected to comply with the regulations.

Once the data table is prepared in 100 grams for all ingredients, the food producer must understand the weight of each product used in the recipe to make the sandwich. In this example, the food producer should know the weight of two slices of bread (say 60 grams), the ham he uses (for example 30 grams), 10 grams of mustard and 5 grams of margarine.

Once this is done, a simple calculation is applied to each of the constituent ingredients to determine the number of calories, the amount of fat, saturated fat, etc. present in the recipe. The calculation will consist of dividing by 100 the nutritional data for 100 g, then multiplying it by the weight of this constituent in the ingredient.

For example, if 100 g of ham is 350 calories, divide by 100 is 3.5 calories per gram. 3.5 calories per gram x 30 grams used in the recipe represent 105 calories.

Once this is complete, the food manufacturer will have an accurate indication of the total nutritional data for the ham and mustard sandwich by simply adding the values ​​of each ingredient making up the total recipe.

And here's how to calculate nutritional data with the help of Microsoft Excel or Open Office Calc.

At the present time, UK food manufacturers face a daunting challenge in achieving the goals set out in the regulations and must respond to them very quickly if they do not have it. already done.

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