The Ultimate Guide to Creating Accurate Nutrition Labels at Home: Tools and Tips for Health-Conscious Consumers

Updated on November 28, 2023

Source: Unsplash

For a nutrition facts label to serve its purpose, it should do more than meet FDA regulations: It must provide accurate nutrient information to the consumer. The average business can find it hard to keep track of the nitty-gritty of labeling nutrition information, which is why a nutrition label maker is one of the essential tools for crafting nutrition labels.You only need to add the food components making up your product, choose the desired labeling template, and the nutrition facts label generator will make the label.

But even as entrepreneurs turn to labeling software, it’s crucial to understand the details that should go on food labels, what’s mandatory and what one can omit, and the graphic rules to follow when designing a nutrition sticker. This detailed guide will help anyone create accurate nutrition labels at home.

Understand the Nutrient Information to Include on the Label

The FDA has a list of nutrients whose inclusion on the label is mandatory and a second list where inclusion on labels is voluntary. Only nutrients and food components in the two categories should go on the label.

Mandatorily-Declared nutrients

Nutrients and food components that one must declare on the label include the following:

  • Calories—the caloric content per serving. Can be expressed as “Calories” or “Total calories”.
  • Total fat
  • Saturated fat
  • Trans fat
  • Cholesterol
  • Sodium
  • Total carbohydrate or carbohydrate
  • Dietary fiber
  • Total sugars
  • Added sugars
  • Protein
  • Vitamins and minerals. These should always follow this order: vitamin D, calcium, iron, and potassium.

Voluntarily-Declared Nutrients

These are the nutrients and food compounds that one can declare voluntarily:

  • Calories from saturated fat
  • Polyunsaturated fat
  • Monounsaturated fat
  • Fluoride
  • Soluble fiber
  • Insoluble fiber
  • Sugar alcohol

Follow the FDA Design and Graphic Requirements

All nutrition labels must follow a set of rigid graphic rules, which include:

  • Use hairlines to set off the nutrition information in a box
  • Type nutrition information in black or one color
  • Print all information on a white background or any other neutral contrasting background
  • Use a single-type style that is easy to read
  • Use upper- and lower-case letters
  • Use at least four points leading for mandatory and voluntary nutrients listed, except for voluntarily declared vitamins, minerals, and folic acid in conventional food. Use at least one point leading for all other information.

Choose The Right Label Template

Different product packages call for different nutrition label formats. The product package size and quantity of nutritional content can determine the kind of template a business uses for nutrition labeling. Regardless of the template used, the nutritional information should follow the same order and graphic specifications to ensure uniformity of presentation. Include these details in this order: 

  • The serving size
  • Number of servings per container
  • Amount of calories per serving
  • Nutrients present
  • Percentage Daily Value of each nutrient per serving
  • Micronutrients present
  • Percentage Daily Value of each micronutrient per serving.
S6H6kL 5v MPt3gz7sxZcge4ILFDdraC4IBirK14aSHcDmB3CG7ivgB633dYB V21gFhQ7SoILSz NHAagSfGamCjg4V4Y H3dq7Lhu4rvHrxEEGK

Source: Unsplash

While the FDA does not provide specific templates for businesses to use, it offers sample labels that companies can use to create suitable formats. The most well-liked of these include:

Standard Vertical Format

As the name implies, this template comes in a vertical design. It is among the most popular label types and works great for food products in package sizes of at least 40 square inches.

Vertical Display with Micronutrients Listed Side-by-Side

A vertical design similar to the standard labeling template. The difference between the two is that, in this second template, the list of micronutrients in each serving is listed side-by-side.

Vertical Display with Some Voluntary Nutrients

Companies that wish to volunteer nutrient information they feel would benefit customers can use this template. For example, when the company wants to specify the number of calories per gram of fat. These details should go to the bottom of the list of nutrients, below the asterisk explaining what DV (Daily Value) means.

Tabular Display

The tabular format is horizontal in design and is ideal for packages with limited space. It’s most suitable for product package sizes less than 40 square inches, which lack enough vertical space to accommodate the required nutrient details.

Aggregate Displays

The aggregate display requires the identity of each food to be listed to the right of the Nutrition Facts heading. Under each food, indicate the quantitative amount of each nutrient by weight and its percent Daily Value.

Aggregate displays are best for:

  • Products with two or more separately packaged foods that should be consumed individually, such as variety packs
  • Packages that are used interchangeably for the same product

Dual Column, Per Serving & Per Container (Or Per Unit)

The dual-column format provides nutrient information on a per-serving and per-container or unit basis. The Per Serving and Per Container (Per Unit) subheadings are to the right of the Calories subheading. Vertical lines separate the two columns. Under each column, indicate the quantitative amount by weight and the percent Daily Value. Separate Add nutrient details about vitamins and minerals below the nutrient information on other nutrients. Separate the two categories using a bar and list each vitamin and mineral entry vertically.

Simplified Display

Individuals and businesses can use the simplified display format when the product contains insignificant amounts of eight or more of these food components:

  • Calories
  • Total fat
  • Saturated fat
  • Trans fat
  • Cholesterol
  • Sodium
  • Total carbohydrate

Others are:

  • Dietary fiber
  • Total sugars
  • Added sugars
  • Protein
  • Vitamin D
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Potassium

If creating a label for a food product meant for infants and children 1–3 years old, only use the simplified format if the product contains negligible amounts of six or more of these nutrient or food components:

  • Calories
  • Total fat
  • Sodium
  • Total carbohydrate
  • Dietary fiber
  • Protein

Others are:

  • Total sugars
  • Added sugars
  • Vitamin D
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Potassium

Key Takeaway

Coming up with the perfect nutrition label entails knowing what information to include on the label, the proper labeling format, and how to design the label. There are lots of details involved, but a label generator makes creating a nutrition label easy. The tool comes with FDA-compliant nutrition label graphic configurations, various labeling formats for diverse package sizes and product types, and information on the varied nutrients in different foods and food products. To use the label maker, select the preferred label format for each product, input the ingredients making up the product, and it will calculate the nutrient quantity per serving or unit and fill in the value for each food component.

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.