Founded in 2006, Campbell, California-based The Flying Falafel provides specialty Mediterranean cuisine throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. A trend-setter in the industry, the company has created premium falafels that are high in protein, with no preservatives and cholesterol. Additionally, the menu features an assortment of fresh, healthy traditional offerings, including hummus, salad, tabbouleh, pita pockets and dolma rice wraps.
When The Flying Falafel expanded its catering services to incorporate a wholesale business, they realized that they needed skilled guidance through the process of preparing accurate nutrition labels, as required by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Flying Falafel relied on LabelCalc®, the only online nutrition analysis tool that instantly generates precise, up-to-date FDA-compliant nutrition facts panels. A pioneer within the food industry, LabelCalc also offers consultancy services, with an experienced team of FDA regulations specialists and registered dieticians that educates food manufacturers about complex compliance laws, current industry issues and developing trends.
The company was uncertain regarding the correct label format for their new Mediterranean pita sandwiches, a combination meal consisting of numerous ingredients including bread, falafels, dips and sauces. LabelCalc president Lucy Needham recommended using a single composite label that presents the average nutrition values of all the components, rather than one that lists the individual values of each item. Her counsel was extremely valuable, noted the Flying Falafel team. “Lucy was right, since the assumption is that the meal will be consumed as a whole in a single sitting,” they said. “A nutrition listing of individual ingredients would have been unnecessary as well as difficult to accommodate on the package. We consulted various potential customers for their perspective and they all agreed with Lucy’s opinion.”
Another issue faced by The Flying Falafel was whether or not to treat hummus dip as a liquid, which is important due to the difference between beverage and non-beverage serving size declarations. The serving size declaration is composed of two parts – a “household measure” and its weight. For non-beverages, this measure is the metric equivalent in grams (g), while for beverages it may be fluid ounces, cups or cup fractions with the metric equivalent in milliliters (mL). Needham consulted the FDA on behalf of the company to confirm that hummus is considered a viscous dip and belongs in the liquid or beverage category. She then helped create nutrition labels that reflected this assessment.
Needham also assisted The Flying Falafel to successfully bring its products to market by advising about crucial aspects of data presentation and package design. In addition, she personally guided them through each step of the label generation process.
“When initially starting work with LabelCalc, we asked many detailed questions about topics beyond basic label creation,” said the company. “Lucy was very patient with us and spent a lot of time going over everything to make sure that we understood. In our opinion, that’s great customer service. She was also flexible with respect to our needs, which is important to build a good customer-supplier relationship.”
Previously, in order to generate nutrition panels, manufacturers were dependent upon complicated, expensive and time-consuming options such as laboratories, CDs and third-party consultants. On the other hand, LabelCalc is easy to use and cost-efficient, with no new computer software and set-up procedures, specialized training or manuals. Customers enjoy 24-hour access to an online nutrition calculator and FDA facts panel design module.
“LabelCalc functions as a convenient, one-stop business resource for our clients’ nutrition analysis needs,” stated Needham. “We routinely answer difficult questions about regulations issues, and make sure our clients have access to the newest and most comprehensive information available. In contrast, most laboratories charge inflated prices for customer support, often as much as $500 per answer to individual questions.”
LabelCalc is one of two nutrition analysis applications developed by FoodCalc® LLC, headquartered in San Francisco, CA. Founded in 2003, FoodCalc creates unique online applications for food manufacturers, restaurants, dieticians and chefs. For more information, visit www.LabelCalc.com, email info@LabelCalc.com or call (888) 804-0001.
Customer: The Flying Falafel, Campbell, CA
The Challenge: Offer The Flying Falafel an efficient solution for nutrition analysis, plus personalized consulting services.
Executive Summary: The Flying Falafel required counsel about the appropriate nutrition label format for their new combination sandwich meal. The company also sought clarification regarding the FDA’s classification of dips and sauces as beverages versus non-beverages in terms of serving size declarations. LabelCalc president Lucy Needham provided expert answers to The Flying Falafel’s various queries. Furthermore, she offered helpful advice regarding data presentation and package design, and successfully ensured the accuracy and correct formatting of all the company’s facts panels.