Moving grains from farms to tables requires that a producer follow the regulations for packaged foods. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and by extension, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), requires all packaged foods to carry a minimum amount of information on their label at the point of sale, including:
- Product identity / product name
- Net quantity of the package contents
- Ingredient list
- Allergen statement
- Business contact information
Notice that the nutrition facts panel is not on the list. While it is required label information for most businesses, the FDA exempts very small businesses from this requirement, thus it is only necessary if the business reaches a certain threshold of volume or number of employees. For more details, please review this site. Despite the presence of this exemption, however, most consumers and retailers expect to see this information on their food package.
Because of this expectation, the Artisan Grains Collaborative (AGC), an AURI stakeholder, requested support from AURI on behalf of one of its members for the development of a nutrition facts panel. AURI recognized that this request was based on a need to reduce the financial burden for all AGC member-farmers that sell single grain or blended grain products (flours in particular) directly to consumers.
Each nutrition label costs an average of $750-$1,000 to develop at an external lab, based on a nutrient analysis of a single sample of the product. AURI’s solution to reducing this financial burden was to create a food nutrition label process that could be used by all at no cost.
The solution includes two tools*:
1. A database of 50 downloadable nutrition facts panels in PDF form based on AGC member products and generated using the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Food Composition Database or other verified data sources.
2. A downloadable spreadsheet “calculator” that can generate weight percent-based nutrition facts on more complex finished product blends (customizable up to 5 grain ingredients).
To use the database, simply download the appropriate PDF nutrition facts panel and fill in the number of servings per container and the consumer measure (i.e., the cup or tablespoon amount) associated with the serving size. Please review the video below for more detail.
To use the calculator, download the spreadsheet onto your computer and fill in the weight-based percentage composition of your grain or flour blend (up to 5 ingredients). The calculator will then generate compiled nutrition facts information on both a 100 gram basis and a serving size basis. You can then input the serving size basis data into a low cost/free, publicly available nutrition label generators for a user-friendly experience that does not require expensive labeling services. Examples of nutrition label generators include:
Please note, the serving size basis is pre-populated in the calculator, at 30 grams for flour blends and 45 grams for whole grain blends (according to FDA reference amounts for these product types). This can be adjusted simply by entering a new serving size (in grams) into the indicated cell.
To connect directly with AURI, you can contact us directly here .
*Disclaimer: The nutrition facts label provided by AURI is calculated based on nutrient ingredient database values. Any changes to the product blends will impact the nutrition facts. While AURI makes every effort to provide accurate nutrition information, the brand owner, according to the FDA, is solely responsible for the accuracy of the label. For confirmation, consult a certified laboratory to validate nutritional values through product testing AURI shall not be held liable for any damage resulting from the sale, handling, contact, use, or consumption of any product.