New Food Labelling Dataset Launched by QIB
Front and back of pack food nutrition labels are a crucial intervention to support healthy choices and reduce obesity rates by providing nutritional information to consumers in a way that’s easy to understand. Nutritional labelling can help to reduce dietary intakes of calories and nutrients, such as salt, saturated fat and sugar which, if overconsumed, have been linked to chronic disease.
As indicated in the EU regulations (the provision of food information to consumers (Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011)), most food companies have had to provide nutritional information on their prepacked products since December 2016. This is not likely to change in the short term once details of the UK’s exit from the EU are finalised. The regulation presents a potential financial challenge for food companies to analyse their products in labs and, as an alternative, nutrient labels can also be produced by calculation using generally established and authoritative food composition data.
The McCance and Widdowson’s Composition of Foods Integrated Dataset (CoFID) dataset, which we maintain, contains reference data on the levels of nutrients in thousands of the most commonly eaten foods in the UK. However, this data contains some unknown nutrient values, occurring when analysis of a specific compound in a specific food has not been carried out. The absence of this data means that the calculation method for labelling becomes very difficult.
Therefore, following feedback from users, particularly SME’S and app producers, we have created a labelling by estimating the missing values for the most important foods within CoFID. The values were estimated from a number of sources, such as manufacturers’ data, scientific literature, food composition datasets from other countries and calculations based on similar foods and ingredients. This new labelling new dataset will help food manufacturers, dietitians, nutritionists, software and app producers create the nutrition information for food products and recipes.
This new labelling dataset covers 2914 foods and ingredients from almonds and apples to yogurt and Yorkshire puddings, and is freely available to download here: Labelling Dataset
Overview of contents:
- Nutrients in 2914 foods and ingredients relevant for labelling purposes; energy, fat, saturated fat, carbohydrate, sugars, starch, fibre, protein and salt
- Nutrient values from the CoFID 2019 have been recalculated into the format required for labelling purposes (e. sodium converted to salt, protein calculated as nitrogen x 6.25 for every food, carbohydrate as the weight of the carbohydrates themselves and not their monosaccharide equivalents, energy calculated using the specified energy conversion factors, including for fibre)
- For foods that are deemed to be ingredients of recipes, such as flour, the unknown nutrient values were estimated on a case by case basis using reputable international data sources
This new dataset will make the use of the UK food composition dataset far easier for food labelling purposes.
Nutritional Information Solutions
We provide a service to calculate the nutritional content of food products for the UK food industry (especially Small Medium Enterprises, SMEs), Trading Standards Organisations and others in order to satisfy the needs of food producers who need reliable and accurate nutritional information for labelling their products as required by new EU regulations – see our website for further information www.nutritionalinformationsolutions.com