Nutritional labelling for informed food choices
Since 2007, nutritional labeling is mandatory on almost all pre-packaged foods.
The table of nutritional values is easy to spot. It much easier to compare between similar products and to make informed decisions regarding food choices.
The table of nutritional values shows:
A few exceptions…
It should be noted that certain pre-packaged products are exempt from the requirement for nutritional labeling:
- Raw meat, poultry, fish and seafoods (except ground or chopped);
- Fresh fruits and vegetables;
- Foods prepared on-site by the retailer;
- Alcoholic beverages;
- Foods that contain only a negligible quantity of nutrients (e.g. coffee beans, tea leaves, spices);
- Confectionaries, commonly referred to as “bite-sized candies”, individually wrapped.
Table of Nutritional Values
How best to use all these figures in order to make the right food choices? Demystify the table of nutritional values and better understand the information they contain!
Labels provide all sorts of information
Aside from the table of nutritional values, it should be noted that there is lots of regulated information present on food packaging that can assist you in making the best food choices.
List of ingredients
The list of ingredients is mandatory on nearly all pre-packaged food products. All the ingredients contained in a food product must be listed in decreasing order by weight, from highest lowest.
So, the first ingredient on the list will have the highest proportion in the product.
These claims are terms placed on the packaging that praise the presence of a certain nutrient that consumers want more of, or that promote the absence or low levels of another nutrient that consumers want to limit in their diet.
These claims underline the relationship between diet and health, such as reducing the risk of developing certain diseases linked to diet.
Make no mistake about it, these claims are highly regulated and the product must fulfill numerous conditions before it is able to carry such health claims.
Nutritional claims: what do they mean?
Often you can find indications on packaging as to the vitamin and mineral content of the product, such as “source of calcium”, “excellent source of vitamin A” or “good source of vitamin C”… But what does this really mean? We will take a closer look.
« contains » « source of »
Each portion of the food contains 5% or more of the recommended daily allowance of the vitamin or mineral in question.
« good source of » « high in »
Each portion of the food contains 15% or more of the recommended daily allowance of the vitamin or mineral in question.
In the case of vitamin C, each portion of the food contains 30% or more of the recommended daily allowance.
« excellent source of » « very high in » « rich in »
Each portion of the food contains 25% or more of the recommended daily allowance of the vitamin or mineral in question.
In the case of vitamin C, each portion of the food contains 50% or more of the recommended daily allowance.
What is a portion?
The value for one portion of the food is indicated on the nutritional information table on the package. Check it out!