Food labelling e-learning course
Quantitative indications

Quantitative indications

Ingredient percentages in ingredients list for a ready meal

The legislation requires the quantity of certain ingredients in prepacked foods to be indicated as a percentage.

The indication can be given with the name of the food or in the ingredients list. The ingredients this applies to are those:

  • appearing in the name of the food or usually associated with that name by the consumer (e.g. the meat in a 'shepherds pie')
  • emphasised over other ingredients on the labelling in any way, e.g. by being pictured
  • characterising a food where the nature of the food may otherwise be unclear as the result of the name used (e.g. a foreign name) or the food's appearance

Exemptions

A quantitative indication will not be required for an ingredient already quantified on the label under other provisions:

  • where its drained net weight is given
  • where a statement of its quantity is required under product-specific provisions (e.g. the fruit in jam)
  • where the ingredient is a vitamin or mineral included in the nutrition declaration

There is also an exemption for ingredients that play a minor role in consumer choice. These ingredients may be mentioned in the name of the food, but the variation in their quantity is not a decisive factor for the nature of the product (e.g. the potato in a beef and potato pie).

Further exemptions concern:

  • ingredients added for flavouring in small quantities (taken to be up to 2% in the UK)
  • ingredients specifically permitted to be present in somewhat varying quantities (e.g. mixtures of vegetables)
  • ingredients that are sweeteners or sugar, and are mentioned using one of these names in the food's name as a statutory requirement

Calculation

Where foods lose moisture during processing, the quantitative indication should be calculated as the weight of the ingredient divided by the finished weight of the product, i.e. taking into account only the residual water in the product. Where this would lead to a value of more than 100%, the weight of the ingredient used to prepare 100g of the finished product should be stated instead.

Indications for volatile ingredients should be calculated from ingoing amount and finished product weight.

Indications for ingredients that are in concentrated or dehydrated form can be on the basis of the pre-concentrated or pre-dehydrated form.

Indications for ingredients in foods that must be reconstituted can be on the basis of their proportion in the reconstituted product.