Nutrition labelling

Nutrition labelling provides information on the nutritional composition of a food, its energy content and the amount of nutrients. Reading food nutrition labelling allows the consumer to compare different preparations and choose foods according to their own needs. Nutrition labelling also helps to determine the importance of the food consumed in terms of daily nutrient intake.

The content and indication of nutrition labelling are laid down in Articles 29-35 and Annexes XIII-XV to the Food Information Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council.

The content of the nutrition labelling (Article 30 of Food Information Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011, Art. 30) is

  • in a specified form (energy and nutrient names are defined), and
  • limited (only the nutrients provided for by the legislation may be indicated in the actual nutrition declaration).

NOTE: Consequently, the amount of added salt or sugar alone in the list of ingredients of a foodstuff should no longer be indicated, as it does not tell the buyer of the product the salt or sugar content of the whole food product. Although it is often voluntary to indicate the amount of a food ingredient, in this case indication of the amount of the nutrient in the list of ingredients may mislead the consumer by giving an image that the amount of nutrient in the product is lower than it is.

The mandatory nutrition label must contain the following information per 100 g/100 ml: 

  • energy content (kJ and kcal) and
  • amounts of fat, saturates, carbohydrate, sugars, protein and salt in grams (Art. 30.1). Salt is calculated and determined via sodium (salt = sodium × 2.5). Consequently, both natural sodium from the ingredients and sodium from food salt are taken into account.

Mandatory nutrition labelling may be supplemented by one or more of the following amounts: mono-unsaturates, polyunsaturates, polyols, starch, fibre, vitamins/minerals listed in Annex XIII (Art. 30.2).

The information on the mandatory nutrition labelling can be repeated voluntarily: energy value or energy value and amounts of fats, saturates, sugars and salt. (Art. 30.3).

For alcoholic beverages, the energy value alone may be indicated on a voluntary basis (Article 30.4).

For non-prepacked foods, the energy value or the amounts of energy value and fat, saturates, sugars and salt may be indicated on a voluntary basis (Article 30.5).

Expression of the nutritional value per 100 grams or per 100 millilitres, per portion or per unit of consumption (Articles 32-33)

  • The nutritional value is expressed per 100 grams or per 100 millilitres. In addition, it is possible to indicate the nutritional value per serving or unit of consumption.
  • The presentation of reference values for macronutrients (Annex XIII.B) is voluntary. The information may be expressed per 100 grams or per 100 millilitres per portion or per unit of consumption (Article 33.1.c) Where reference values are provided, the following additional statement shall be indicated in close proximity to them: “Reference intake of an average adult (8400 kJ / 2000 kcal) (Art. 32.5).
  • The reference intakes for daily intake of vitamins and minerals (adults) are described in Part A of Annex XIII to the Food Information Regulation. Where vitamins and minerals are indicated they must be present in significant amounts:
    • other than beverages: at least 15 % of the reference value
    • beverages: at least 7.5% of the reference value
    • the package contains only one portion: at least 15% of the reference value.
  • When repeating data voluntarily in accordance with Article 30.3 (b), reference values may be reported only per portion or per unit of consumption, with the exception of the amount of energy, which shall additionally be expressed per 100 g / ml (Article 33.2).
  • For non-prepacked foods, the particulars may be provided per portion or per unit of consumption only (Art.33.3).

Presentation of nutrition labelling (Art. 34)

  • Nutrition labelling must be presented as a whole in the same field of vision in a clear format (Article 34.1-2, Annex XV)
  • Where particulars are repeated voluntarily in accordance with Article 30.3, they must be presented in the principal field of vision. They may be presented in a different form from the mandatory nutrition labelling (Article 34.3).
Page last updated 1/17/2022