Nutrition information
By Kidspot Team |
Nutrition information

Food labels can contain a lot of information. Sometimes it is difficult to understand everything on the label and what it means from a personal viewpoint.

There are two main ways of finding out about the nutritional value of foods you eat - through nutrition information panels and the nutrition claims. In addition, many food products also have a DI Counter outlining the percentage of your daily intake (%DI) of key nutrients, that one serve of the product will provide. These values are based on the daily intake of an adult.

The nutrition information panel on packaged goods

This is the table of nutrient content information found on most foods. The minimum information and layout of the nutrition information panel is specified by government food regulations. Nutrition information is given both per serve (serving size as determined by the manufacturer) and per 100g. In addition, the proportion of the recommended dietary intakes for vitamins and minerals provided by a serving of food should be listed where the manufacturer is making a claim about the vitamin/s and/or mineral/s in the product.

These values are based on the recommended intakes of adults. To find out more about the recommended intakes for children, click here.

Ingredient list

The ingredient list on food products identifies all of the ingredients which are in a food. Ingredients are listed in descending order of the amount present in the food - that is, the higher up in the list, the larger amount present in the food.

The percentage that certain ingredients contribute to the finished food must be labelled. Ingredients which need to be percentage labelled include those which appear in the name of the product, are usually associated with food or is emphasised on the food label in words, pictures or graphics. For example, the ingredients list for almond and raisin cereal must include the percentage that almonds and raisins contribute to the finished food.

There may also be instances when an ingredient, which itself is made up of two or more ingredients, requires percentage labelling. One example of how this might appear is "fruit (25%) (apple paste, dried apricot (1.4%), pectin, …). This means that the percentage of the apricot (ie: 1.4%) is the percentage of the apricot in the finished food and NOT the percentage of apricot in the fruit.

Nutrition claims

Nutrition claims such as 'low in fat' or 'high in fibre' are often made on food labels. These are called 'nutrient content claims' and most have definitions set by the government authority, known as Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) to which food manufacturers comply. It is a regulatory requirement that any food label which includes a nutrition claim must also include a nutrition information panel for further information.

Outlined below are the criteria for the most common nutrient claims defined by FSANZ:

  • Good source of vitamins and minerals
  • Source of a vitamin or mineral
  • High in protein
  • High in carbohydrate
  • Low in salt
  • Source of fibre
  • No artificial flavours
  • High in fibre
  • No artificial colours
  • Very high in fibre
  • Low in fat

Good source of vitamins and minerals means that one serve of the food contains not less than 25% of the recommended dietary intake for the vitamin or mineral listed. For example, a "good source of 5 vitamins" means that a serve of the product provides 25% of the RDI for 5 vitamins.

Source of a vitamin or mineral means that one serve of the food contains not less than 10% of the recommended dietary intake for the vitamin or mineral listed. For example, a "source of calcium" means that one serve provides not less than 10% of the RDI for calcium.

Making healthy food choices

Information on food labels can help people make healthy food choices. Nutrition claims and nutrition information panels can help you identify foods that best meet your needs. Most importantly - enjoy what you eat. 

  • Source of fibre means that the food contains at least 1.5g of dietary fibre per serve.
  • High in fibre means that the food contains at least 3g of dietary fibre per serve.
  • Very high in fibre means the food contains at least 6g of dietary fibre per serve.
  • High in protein means the product contains at least 5g of protein per serve and contributes at least 12% of its total energy from protein.
  • Low in salt means the food contains less than 120 mg of sodium per 100g.
  • No artificial flavours means the food contains only natural flavours which are extracted from foods.
  • No artificial colours means the food contains only natural colours which are pigments extracted from naturally occurring matter and are not synthetically prepared.
  • Low in fat means the food contains less than 3g of fat per 100g.
  • Another frequently used nutrient claim is High in carbohydrate which means that the food is a good source of carbohydrate and provides the majority of kilojoules (and calories) from carbohydrate.

For a kids meal you can feel great about, head in to Subway® to grab a Kids' Pak™ Meal. For a limited time they can collect all 6 Island Treasures from Disney's "Moana"!

 

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