Take the 2-minute tour ×
Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm working on starting a small home-based bakery that will ship food products sold on a website directly to consumers. (Specifically, cookies.) As part of this work, I am designing packaging and am looking into FDA-compliant nutrition labels. Even though this two-person part-time business easily qualifies for an exemption, my preference is to nonetheless provide nutrition information as I believe it would be helpful to customers. At the same time, I believe providing inaccurate information is worse than no information at all. There is an extreme amount of conversation on calorie calculation for personal diets (including here and here), but little I can find on calculation for commercial purposes.

Obviously, nutritional information can be derived through laboratory tests and I have found many such services online.

Another possible solution (that I use for my own diet) is to simply "add-up" ingredient values from their respective labels. This method seems like a great solution but I'm concerned about its accuracy on an FDA-compliant label, especially after baking. I am skeptical of this process because:

  • I recall from high school chemistry that frying an egg changes its chemical composition and I'm assuming also its nutritional value, and
  • It is commonly stated online that processed foods have altered nutrition values.

My question is in three parts:

  1. Are these concerns about the "add-up" process accurate enough to disqualify it from a commercial level of nutrition labeling?
  2. Are there other methods I can use to calculate nutrition information accurately enough to meet FDA requirements without needing laboratory analysis?
  3. Do you have any other advice on this process or topic for a small business trying to balance providing this information voluntarily and the costs of hiring outside help?

Thank you.

share|improve this question
3  
These are excellent questions, but I urge you to consult qualified experts. I would start by calling your local university extension or the FDA itself on how to comply with the regulations. That said, most nutrition labeling is done analytically, and if done at the batch size, should be accurate enough at the serving size. –  SAJ14SAJ Dec 15 '13 at 21:50
    
Thanks. That's my plan but I figured it'd be worth asking online just to see if I can get any advice or tips first. –  Tom Dworzanski Dec 15 '13 at 21:51
1  
Stop by Seasoned Advice Chat during (US-ish) business hours; one of our regulars just might have some insight. –  SAJ14SAJ Dec 15 '13 at 21:52
2  
Depends what you mean by "changes nutritional value". People sometimes use that as a fancy way of saying for "makes it less healthy". Baking will caramelise some sugars and denature proteins, but on the whole, going by the properties of the macronutrients, and assuming that the law of conservation of mass applies, their amounts will remain more or less the same. If you put 100g sugar carbs into X amount of batter, there'll be 100g sugar carbs in however much there is of the result. Vitamins will probably get destroyed but I don't think anyone eats cookies for those. –  millimoose Dec 16 '13 at 4:39
    
There are vitamins in raw cookie dough? :D –  Mien Dec 16 '13 at 12:38
add comment

1 Answer

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Use Wolframalpha, it is just adding them up. But any lab result has to use average ingredient figures too. You need to allow for variance in supply i.e protein level of flour changes with variety and season

It produce pretty labels, all ready to go!

e.g. http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=100g+flour+and+100g+butter+and+50g+sugar

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.