Starting out in the food manufacturing business can feel overwhelming. Tweaking and testing your product until it reaches perfection is tough enough, but you’ve also got to consider marketing, packaging, and of course, labeling. When you’re a beginner working with a tight budget and limited staff (or perhaps it’s only you), ensuring your product is fit for store shelves is challenging.
Of all the tasks requiring your energy and attention, creating a nutrition facts label is often one of the most daunting for first-time food manufacturers. If you aren’t well-versed in the complex FDA nutrition label guidelines, you might think making a nutrition facts label will be difficult, time-consuming, and expensive, or that you can’t do it yourself. Thankfully, this doesn’t have to be the case. Using online nutritional analysis software to create nutrition facts labels is the easiest, quickest, and most affordable option for those finding their footing in the food industry.
Using Online Software to Create Nutrition Facts Labels
If you are preparing your first product for retail, it’s important to be aware of the options available when it comes to creating your nutrition facts label. Food labs, CD-ROM programs, and private consultants offer these services, but they are often pricey and have long wait times. Food lab analysis and label creation can be as much as $800 per product, while CD-ROMs come with hidden fees for things like training and custom ingredients, despite the low initial cost for the product itself. The price of private consultants varies, but it typically exceeds that of web-based software by a few hundred dollars.
Web-based software allows you to do the nutritional analysis of your product yourself, meaning it is quicker and more cost-effective, with the benefit of knowing it’s a FDA approved method. For smaller companies with one or a few products, costs typically run around $220 per product, which includes the nutrition analysis and FDA Facts Label. Plus, there is no wait time with these programs. As soon as you input your recipe’s ingredients, your label is automatically generated.
Some people shy away from doing nutritional analysis and label creation themselves because they fear it will be complex and confusing, but as long as you choose a reputable tool, it is really quite straightforward. To give you an idea of how easy it is to use online nutrition software to generate your nutrition facts label, let’s look at a breakdown of the steps it requires:
- Create a secured password protected account with a username.
- Sign in to your account and input your product’s ingredients (recipe) and serving size.
- The software instantly generates your FDA-compliant nutrition facts label, your serving size, servings per container, ingredient statement and allergens.
- Once finished, you can modify ingredients, amounts, serving size, and label layout, if desired.
- Download finished label and print.
This process can be completed in minutes, and the only information you need is your product recipe and serving size. Not only is this the easiest method of creating your label, it’s the quickest way to get your product onto store shelves so you can start bringing in profit.
Features to Look For When Choosing Online Nutrition Analysis Software
Not all online nutritional analysis software is created equal. A lot of the software on the web isn’t FDA-compliant and hasn’t been designed specially for American food manufacturers. Therefore, it is important to be discerning when deciding which nutritional analysis software to use.
Here are a few key features food manufacturers should look for when choosing an online nutritional analysis software:
FDA-Compliance: This should go without saying, but it is integral that you find a nutritional analysis software that complies with FDA regulations—not all do. This means it must provide FDA-specific label layouts, an FDA rounding feature, and FDA allergen information. If your label isn’t FDA-complaint, you could face fines and your product could be pulled from shelves. To avoid this, be sure the software indicates it was created specifically for food manufacturers and meets current FDA regulations.
Online Support: If this is your first time making a nutrition facts label, pick a software that provides online support. Questions regarding label creation and FDA regulations usually come up, and when they do, you’ll want to access answers as quickly as possible. This could be in the form of video tutorials or demos showing you how to navigate the software, live online support from expert consultants, or preferably, a combination of the two.
Proprietary Ingredient Additions: Nutrition analysis software uses a database of pre-analyzed ingredients you select for your product. While the best software has as many as 18,000 ingredients in the database, sometimes even those are missing a particular ingredient. This will be a problem unless you choose a software that allows you to create and add proprietary ingredients. With LabelCalc, all you have to do is input the ingredient information and add the new ingredient to your recipe.
Nutrient Comparison: Sometimes food manufacturers need to adjust their recipes once they see the nutritional information. Perhaps it’s too high in calories for the target market, or there is too much saturated fat. The nutrient comparison feature allows you to see how each ingredient contributes to the overall nutritional value of your product. Then, you can tweak or swap out ingredients and see how the values change in real time. If the software didn’t have this feature, you’d have to create several new recipes with different ingredient amounts in order to compare them, which would be time-consuming and frustrating.
Confidentiality: One of the concerns many food manufacturers have about using online nutritional analysis software is that their product recipes won’t be safe. This is only the case if you use online software that lacks the highest security standards, creating a real risk of your information getting leaked, hacked, or lost. To protect your recipes, look for a reputable software like LabelCalc that is password protected, PCI-compliant, and automatically backs up your information daily.
If the online nutritional analysis and label making software has all these features, the process of creating your nutrition facts label should be as simple and streamlined as possible. Not only will it provide you with a quick, easy, and affordable FDA-approved nutrition facts label for your first product, the right software will serve as an invaluable tool for your growing business and all the exciting products to come.
LabelCalc offers industry leading web-based nutritional analysis and FDA-approved label-making that is simple and intuitive to use. For all your label-related questions or to get started with your account, contact us today.