What should be included in food nutritional tables?

Whether yoghurt, chips or apple juice: Without beautiful packaging and advertising slogan, some foods are not enough. Since 2016 nutritional facts tables are supposed to create facts. But what is there any way?

Good-sounding advertising promises to stand out on many beautifully packaged foods. Clarity should create their nutritional tables, which must be on most pre-packaged food since 2016. Often, however, the rows of numbers make the consumer more likely to scratch his head: What is written on it? And what needs to be considered?

In terms of per 100 grams or millilitres of content, the label must contain seven nutritional values: the energy content and the levels of fat, saturated fatty acids, carbohydrates, sugar, protein, and salt. This is indicated by the Federal Centre for Nutrition (BZfE). On the other hand, other details such as the content of fibre or unsaturated fatty acids are voluntary.

Vitamins and minerals may only be mentioned if they occur in significant quantities – usually 15 percent of the recommended daily requirement. If manufacturers decide to do so, they must also list what percentage of the daily requirement is the vitamins or minerals they contain.

However, the labelling requirement does not apply to all foods. Excluded are, for example, foods that are sold loose or packaged on-site at the request of the buyer, such as sausage at the meat counter or bread rolls at the bakery. Beverages containing more than 1.2% alcohol by volume do not need to be on a nutritional chart. The same applies to products that consist of only one ingredient or class of ingredients, such as flour, rice, herbs, and spices.

As controversial are portion information, which is often right next to the mandatory information. This is because manufacturers are free to choose these portion sizes – which is why some of these statements are small or unrealistic, as the consumer centers complain.