If you find food labels tricky to read you are not alone. For those of us who aren’t nutritionists or dietitians, picking up a product off the supermarket shelf and trying to decipher the columns of figures can be very confusing. A lot of us also don’t have the time or patience to spend trying to work out what they mean.
In Australia all foods sold in stores and online must comply with labelling requirements set by the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code. It is essential that these labels show necessary information to inform consumers of the nature and properties of foods prior to purchase. Understanding how food labels work and knowing what nutrition information to look for can empower you to make better choices for your health. Read on for some quick tips to make grocery shopping a bit easier, speedier, and help you to avoid foods and drinks that are particularly high in sugar, saturated fat, or added salt.
There are many different types of information shown on food labels.
Ingredients list: Read this first. It is usually found on the back of the packet. All ingredients must be listed in order from largest to smallest by weight. The acai products available from Tropical Brazil contain a high percentage of acai compared to water or any other added ingredients.
Nutrition information: The nutrition information panel contains a list of key nutrients so you can be aware of what you are putting into your body, serving sizes, and choose between different products on the shelf. In this section you will find usually find energy, carbohydrates, protein, fat, fibre, sodium listed in grams and as a percentage of recommended daily intake. It is important to note:
Allergens: The most common food allergens (e.g. eggs, peanuts, gluten) and sulphites must be listed in the ingredients or in a separate advisory statement. If a food contains or has been processed in the same facility as an ingredient that may cause a severe allergic reaction is must be declared on the label.
Date marking: Tells consumers how long a product can be kept before it deteriorates and is classified as unsafe to consume. This is either written as a:
Country of origin: Shows where the food was grown, produced, made, or manufactured. Every packaged food must be categorised as being made from local or imported ingredients, or a mix of the two.
Reading an Acai Food Label
Below you can see our Acai Bowl Sachet. The ingredients are listed (100% Brazilian Acai) which also specifies the country of origin.