To consumers, a label on a food product is nothing but a guide to help them make purchasing
choices. But to manufacturers of foodstuffs, the labels are much more than that.
Labels on food products contain the nutritional profiling of the item. And, acquiring the correct
information for these labels is a large responsibility. This is because it is legally required, and because
it is there to protect consumers.
What is nutritional profiling?
The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines nutritional profiling as the science of grouping or
grading foodstuffs in relation to the nutrients that they hold. The purpose of this is to encourage
healthier eating habits, and to mitigate foodborne disease.
Organisations like the WHO have also placed an emphasis on nutritional labelling as a part of global
efforts to reduce non-communicable diseases like hypertension.
To describe it differently, nutritional profiling is the process of analysing the food items that you
produce to determine its nutritional contents. After this process is complete, manufacturers can use
the information to create labels for their products.
The South African government, in their regulations relating to the labelling and advertising of food
stuffs (like the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics, and Disinfectants Act (Act 54 of 1972), extensively lays out
what information you need to present on these labels.
How is it done?
In short, nutritional profiling is done in a chemistry laboratory, by an accredited and reputable food
testing facility. But what happens in the lab?
After you provide the scientists with samples of your product, they analyse it using specialised
equipment, like chromatographic and mass spectrometric instruments. Through their analysis, they
can give you an overview of both the physical and chemical characteristics of your products.
At the end of the process you’ll have a full nutritional profile of your product.
Why should you do nutritional profiling?
If you’re in the business of producing food or feed, you are likely required by the law to have food
labels. And if you need food labels, then you need nutritional profiling.
When your samples are sent to the lab, you can select to have your products analysed for the
regular factors like nutritional composition of the item. But you can also select to test for harmful
components, example: heavy metals and trans fats.
With chemistry lab testing and nutritional profiling, you can avoid unnecessary expenses, legal
claims, and damage to reputation.
On top of this, we must remember that part of the reason for nutritional profiling is promoting good
health. By doing nutritional profiling, you can help people make better food choices and contribute
to overall public health.
To retain consumer trust and a good brand reputation, you must ensure that your products have
undergone thorough testing and nutritional profiling. You can get this done easily, by sending your
products to a chemistry lab.
What makes this even better is that this can be a two-in-one activity. You can ensure your food is
free of harmful components, and meets food quality compliance standards.