Nutrition labeling is very important because –
(1) To provide the consumer with information about a food so that a wise choice of food can be made;
(2) To provide a means for conveying information of the nutrient content of a food on the label;
(3) To encourage the use of nutrition principles in the formulation of food this would benefit public health;
(4) To provide the opportunity to include supplementary nutrition information on the label.
Food labels provide more than just nutrition facts. Though they also tell you what’s in a packaged food (i.e., the ingredients). Some food labels also state which country the food came from, whether the food is organic and certain health claims.
United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) are authorities giving guidelines to the label the nutrients. These agencies require that all food labels show the same nutrition and health information. This allows consumers to compare different food and make the choices that are right for them.
Nutrition labeling is a description intended to inform the consumer of nutritional properties of a food.
Nutrition labeling consists of two components:
(i) Nutrient declaration
(ii) Supplementary nutrition information
Nutrition declaration means a standardized statement or listing of the nutrient content of a food.
Whenever nutrient declaration is applied, the declaration of the following should be mandatory:
(i) Energy value of the food.
(ii) The amounts of protein, available carbohydrate (i.e., carbohydrate excluding dietary fiber) and fat.
(iii) The amount of any other nutrient for which a nutrition or health claim is made.
(iv) The amount of any other nutrient considered to be relevant for maintaining a good nutritional status, as required by national legislation or national dietary guidelines.
Nutrition claim means any representation which states, suggests or implies that a food has particular nutritional properties including the energy value and the content of protein, fat and carbohydrates, content of vitamins and minerals.
The amount of energy to be listed should be calculated by using the following conversion factors:
(i) Carbohydrates – 4 kcal/ g – 17 kJ
(ii) Protein – 4 kcal/ g -17 kJ
(iii) Fat – 9 kcal/ g – 37 kJ
(iv) Alcohol (ethanol) – 7 kcal/ g – 29 kJ
(v) Organic acid – 3 kcal/ g – 13 kJ
The amount of protein to be listed should be calculated using the formula:
Protein = Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen x 6. 25
(ii) Supplementary Nutrition Information:
Supplementary nutrition information is intended to increase the consumer’s understanding of the nutritional value of their food and to assist in interpreting the nutrient declaration. There are a number of ways of presenting such information that may be suitable for use on food labels.
The use of supplementary nutrition information on food labels should be optional and should only be given in addition to the nutrient declaration, except for target populations who have a high illiteracy rate and/or comparatively little knowledge of nutrition.
For these, food group symbols or other pictorial or color presentations may be used without the nutrient declaration. Supplementary nutrition information on labels should be accompanied by consumer education programmes to increase consumer understanding and use of the information.
There are general laws which should be implied on any food product.
Food labels provide more than just nutrition facts, though. They also tell you what’s in a packaged food (i.e., the ingredients).
The important guideline and parts of a food label listed below:
This must also inform the customer the nature of the product. It may also be necessary to attach a description to the product name. However, there are certain generic names which must be only used for their conventional uses, for example – Coffee, Prawns etc.
All ingredients of the food must be stated under the heading ‘Ingredients’ and must be stated in descending order of weight. Moreover, certain ingredients such as preservatives must be identified as such by the label ‘Preservatives’, a specific name, e.g., “sodium nitrite” and the corresponding European registration number colloquially known as an “E number”, e.g., “E250”.
It is to declare nutritional information as consumers more than ever are investigating this information before making a purchase. Moreover, there are two European nutritional labeling standards which must be adhered to, if nutritional information is shown.
Nutrition claim implies that a food has particular nutritional properties including the energy value and the content of protein, fat and carbohydrates, content of vitamins and minerals.
This is a mandatory step of labeling of food.
There are two types of date tagging:
1. Use by Date:
‘Use by date’ must be followed by a day or/and month which the product must be consumed by. To be employed on perishable food that usually would be kept cold, for example, fish, meat, dairy products and ‘ready to eat’ salads.
2. Best before Date:
‘Best before date is used as an indicator of when the product will begin to degrade from optimal quality – this includes when the food becomes stale, begins to taste ‘off or decays, rots or goes mouldy. There are also regulations on which type of best before date must be applied. Best before + day for food with a shelf life of up to 3 months + best before end + month for food with more than a 3 month shelf life. Best before end + year for food with more than an 18 month shelf life.
If there are any particular storage conditions for the product to maintain its shelf life, these must be pointed out. However, as a rule it is recommended to always describe the necessary storage conditions for a food product.
In addition to the business name and address, it is necessary to indicate the manufacturer or packager, if independent to the main business and the seller established within the European Union.
The food is required to specify its place of origin.
Instruction for Use:
This is only necessary if it is not obvious how to use or prepare the product, in which case the consumer’s own initiative must be used.
The label must be legible and easy to read; also it must be written in English, however, the manufacturer may also include other languages.
It must be possible to identify individual batches with a lot mark or batch code – the code must be prefixed with the letter ‘L’ if it cannot be distinguish from other codes, however, the date mark can be used as a lot mark.
Sectioning of food labeling includes the following parameters:
(i) Product name
(ii) Date mark
(iv) Quantity, and
(v) Alcohol strength (if applicable).
Standard specifications indicates the level of the standard compliances which the product are manufactured and packaging are completed and the specification limits if the standard is not publicly available, especially for those of microbial limits, heavy metal limits, the limits of pesticide residues, the limits of preservatives and artificial flavoring and coloring.
With a best practice, the items should be presented by their approved names (i. e. domestically), functional classes and numbers of international numbering system (INS) or equivalent.
Food packaging is packaging for food. According to The Packaging Institute International, packaging maybe defined as the enclosure of products, items or packages in wrapped pouches, bag, box, cup, can, tube, bottle or other container in order to perform the functions such as containments, protection, preservation, communication, utility and performance.
Other definitions of packaging include a coordinated system of preparing goods for transport, distribution, storage, retailing and end use. It is important to distinguish the words “package”, “packaging” and “packing”. Package is the enclosing of an item in a package or container.
Package is the physical entity that contains the product. Packaging is defined as the above disciple. It requires protection, tampering resistance and special physical, chemical, or biological needs. It also shows the product that is labeled to show any nutrition information on the food being consumed.
Functions of Food Packaging:
Food packaging has several objectives:
1. Physical Protection:
The food enclosed in the package may require protection from shock, vibration, compression, temperature, water, moisture vapor, gases, odours, microorganism, dust, etc.
A barrier from oxygen, water vapor, dust, etc. is often required. Permeation is a critical factor in design. Some packages contain desiccants or oxygen absorbers to help extend shelf life. Modified atmospheres or controlled atmospheres are also maintained in some food packages. Keeping the contents clean, fresh and safe for the intended shelf life is a primary function.
Small items are typically grouped together in one package for reasons of efficiency. Powders and granular materials need containment.
Packages and labels communicate how to use, transport, recycle, or dispose of the package or product. Some types of information are required by government.
The packaging and labels can be used by marketers to encourage potential buyers to purchase the product. Package design has been an important and constantly evolving phenomenon for several decades. Marketing communications and graphic design are applied to the surface of the package and (in many cases) the point of sale display.
Packaging can play an important role in reducing the security risks of shipment. Packages can be made with improved tamper resistance to determine tampering and also can have tamper- evident features to help indicate tampering. Packages can be engineered to help reduce the risks of package pilferage – some package constructions are more resistant to pilferage and some have pilfered indicating seals.
Packages also can include anti-theft devices, such as dye-packs, RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags, or electronic article surveillance tags, that can be activated or detected by devices at exit points and require specialized tools to deactivate. Using packaging in this way is a means of retail loss prevention.
Packages can have features which add convenience in distribution, handling, stacking, display, sale, opening, reclosing, use and reuse.
Single serving packaging has a precise amount of contents to control usage. Bulk commodities (such as salt) can be divided into packages that are a more suitable size for individual households. It also aids the control of inventory – selling sealed one-liter-bottles of milk, rather than having people bring their own bottles to fill themselves.
There are three important types of packaging:
1. Primary Packaging:
A primary package is one which is in direct contact with the contained products. It provides the initial and major protective barrier for those food items. Examples of primary packages include metal cans, paperboard cartons, glass bottles and plastic pouches.
2. Secondary Packaging:
A secondary package contains a number of primary packages. Secondary packaging combines the primary packages into one box being made.
3. Tertiary Packaging:
A tertiary package is made up of a number of secondary packages, the most common example being a stretched wrapped pallet of corrugated cases.
A choice of packaging machinery includes technical capabilities, labor requirements, worker safety, maintainability, serviceability, reliability, ability to integrate into the packaging line, capital cost, floor space, flexibility (change-over, materials, etc.), energy usage, quality of outgoing packages, qualifications (for food, pharmaceuticals, etc.), throughput, efficiency, productivity, ergonomics, etc.
Packaging machines may be of the following general types:
1. Blister, skin and vacuum packaging machines.
2. Capping, over-capping, lidding, closing, seaming and sealing machines.
3. Cartoning machines.
4. Case and tray forming, packing, unpacking, closing and sealing machines.
5. Check weighing machines.
6. Cleaning, sterilizing, cooling and drying machines.
7. Conveying, accumulating and related machines.
8. Feeding, orienting, placing and related machines.
9. Package filling and closing machines.
10. Form, fill and seal machines.
11. Inspecting, detecting and check weighing machines.
12. Palletizing, depalletizing, pallet unitizing and related machines.
13. Product identification: labeling, marking, etc.
14. Wrapping machines.
15. Converting machines.
Edible films are thin layer of protein film coating over the surface of fruit and vegetables to improve its shelf life and that can be consumable along with the food item. During transportation and storage, food is exposed to a host of conditions that can cause changes in quality and safety.
Oxygen, aromas, oils, moisture and even the interaction of components can alter the appearance and structural integrity of a food product and exposure to microbial agents can cause premature spoilage or contamination. Food manufacturers seek cost-effective solutions to extend shelf life and improve the quality of the product delivered to the end user. One of the effective methods is the use of edible film.
Edible coatings and films currently in use are limited in their applications, due to certain physical properties and difficulties in formation. Manufacturers are looking for coatings and films that can be used on a broad spectrum of food and that perform better than current options. They also wish to move away from the non-aqueous solvents used to form existing edible films and coatings. Edible films and coatings based on milk proteins have been developed to be used as a protective layer on food or between food components.
The most important functionalities of an edible film or coating include control of mass transfers, mechanical protection and sensory appeal. Control of mass transfers involves preventing food from desiccation, regulating microenvironments of gases around food and controlling migration of ingredients and additives in the food systems.
Adequate mechanical strength of an edible film is necessary to protect the integrity of packaging throughout distribution. The sensory properties of an edible coating or film are a key factor for acceptance of final products. Simple milk protein films are good barriers to gas transfers because of their complex intermolecular bindings. Lipid is frequently incorporated into protein films to improve their properties as barriers to moisture vapor.
Protein films are distinctly different in mechanical profiles from those films made of other materials. Approaches traditionally used in material sciences have been adapted and modified for studying the functionality of edible films. An excellent example of edible film is whey protein.
Whey proteins make excellent oxygen, aroma and oil barrier films at low-to-intermediate relative humidity (RH). In addition, the mechanical properties of whey protein films are adequate to provide durability when used as coatings on food products, films separating layers of heterogeneous (made from different ingredients) foods, or films formed into pouches for food ingredients.
(i) Whey protein is water soluble.
(ii) Whey protein can be processed to make films and coatings that are either water-soluble or water-insoluble/water-resistant.
(iii) Transparent, glossy and totally bland in aroma and flavor.
(iv) More label-friendly than some materials.
(v) Superior oxygen and aroma barrier.
Food marketing brings together the producer and the consumer. The food marketing system is the largest direct and indirect nongovernment employer in the United States. It is the chain of activities that brings food from “farm gate to plate. The marketing of even a single food product can be a complicated process involving many producers and companies.
For example – fifty- six companies are involved in making one can of chicken noodle soup. These businesses include not only chicken and vegetable processors but also the companies that transport the ingredients and those who print labels and manufacture cans.
There are three historical phases of food marketing:
1. The fragmentation phase (before 1870-1880),
2. The unification phase (1880-1950),
3. The segmentation phase (1950 and later).
1. Fragmentation Phase:
It is the phase in which state was divided into numerous geographic fragments because transporting food was expensive, leaving most production, distribution and selling locally based.
2. Unification Phase:
In this phase distribution was made possible by railroads, coordination of sales forces was made possible by the telegraph and telephone and product consistency was made possible by advances in manufacturing.
3. Segmentation Phase:
In this phase they have used radio and television advertising for a wider range of competing products to focus on different benefit and images and thus appeal to different demographic and psychographic markets.
The four components of food marketing are often called the “four Ps” of the marketing mix because they relate to product, price, promotion and place. One reason food manufacturers receive the largest percentage of the retail food dollar is that they provide the most differentiating, value-added service. The money that manufacturers invest in developing, pricing, promotion and placing their products helps differentiate a food product on the basis of both quality and brand-name recognition.
In deciding what type of new food products a consumer would most prefer, a manufacturer can either try to develop a new food product or try to modify or extend an existing food. For example – a sweet, flavored yogurt drink would be a new product, but milk in a new flavor (such as chocolate strawberry) would be an extension of an existing product.
There are three steps to both developing and extending:
(i) Generate ideas
(ii) Screen ideas for feasibility,
(iii) Test ideas for appeal.
In profitably pricing the food, the manufacturer must keep in mind that the retailer takes approximately 50 percent of the price of a product. A frozen food sold in a retail store for $4. 50 generates an income of $2. 25 for the manufacturer. This money has to pay for the cost of producing, packaging, shipping, storing and selling the product.
Promoting a food to consumers is done out of store, in store and on package. Advertisements on television and in magazines are attempts to persuade consumers to think favorably about a product, so that they go to the store to purchase the product. In addition to advertising, promotions can also include Sunday newspaper adds that offer coupons such as cents-off and buy- one-get-one-free offers.
Place refers to the distribution and warehousing efforts necessary to move a food from the manufacturer to a location where a consumer can buy it. The food market is affected by many different forces, e.g. , sociological (fewer children mean less demand for certain products), government regulations, international trade conditions, science and technology, weather and other conditions affecting harvest conditions, economic cycles and competitive conditions.
It can also relate to the place within a store that it is located in a place like Sobeys, IGA, Safeway, Walmart and many other gargantuious corporations that have yogurt in stock. The food marketing system in the United States is an amazingly flexible one. Consumer focus helps marketers anticipate the demands of consumers and production focus helps them respond to changes in the market. The result is a system that meets the ever-changing demands of consumers.
Marketing and Promotional Strategies:
A successful product or service means nothing unless the benefit of such a service can be communicated clearly to the target market.
An organizations promotional strategy can consist of:
Advertisement is the best method for promotional strategies in 21 century.
2. Public Relations:
It involves developing positive relationships with the organization media and public. The art of good public relations is not only to obtain favorable publicity within the media, but it is also involves being able to handle successfully negative attention.
3. Sales Promotion:
Sales promotion commonly used to obtain an increase in sales short term. It should involve using money off coupons or special offers.
4. Personal Selling:
Selling a product service one to one.
5. Direct Mail:
It is the sending of publicity material to a named person within an organization. There has been a massive growth in direct mail campaigns over the last 5 years. Direct mail allows an organization to use their resources more effectively by allowing them to send publicity material to a named person within their target segment. By personalizing advertising, response rates increase thus increasing the chance of improving sales.