Nutritional Explanation

What the nutritional labels mean to your customers


These explanations will help you understand the messages on product packs and how they might appeal to your customer. Knowing what different consumers might want, and understanding why certain ingredients (or lack of) matters to them, can help you make the right decision when choosing new products. 


Shoppers are paying more attention to nutrition with a greater awareness of how it affects their overall wellbeing, and are paying particular attention to the sugar, salt and fat content of foods, opting for foods rich in fibre, protein, minerals and vitamins. This will be ever more important with upcoming HFSS rules coming in to force.



Protein - Protein based snacks have become a regular staple for a large chunk of consumers; not just gym goers but casual snacks, students, busy commuters and community shoppers


High Protein = More than 20% of the total Kcal energy per serving comes from protein


Source of Protein = More than 12% of the total Calories per serving come from protein


Plant Protein = This comes from plant based ingredients such as pea, soy or nuts



Plant Based & Vegan - Increasingly we’re seeing consumers select products based on aspirational goals, as well as dietary choices – with many limiting their general meat and dairy consumption for perceived health benefits


Vegan Has been declared as certified vegan by the manufacturer and does not contain any animal products or by-products


Suitable for a Vegan Diet It does not contain any ingredients from animals, but may not be certified vegan or may be produced in a factory that handles non-vegan ingredients


Vegetarian = Does not contain meat or fish but may contain animal by-products such as milk, cheese, eggs etc - hence why it's not vegan


Plant Based Consisting mostly, or entirely, of foods derived from plants and with few or no animal-sourced foods. 

But remember a plant-based diet is not necessarily exclusively vegetarian or vegan



Sustainable - These brands have tackled waste reduction, supporting ethical sourcing and production methods


Plastic Free The product is wrapped or contained in something other than plastic such as paper or compostable packaging 


Compostable Packaging = The packaging is fully biodegradable meaning it will naturally breakdown


Palm Oil Free = Does not contain palm oil as an active ingredient


Sustainable Palm Oil = The item contains palm oil from an ethical and sustainable source


All Natural Ingredients = The product is made up of entirely of ingredients found in nature, and with little to no additives added


Carbon Footprint = A carbon footprint stamp is the total amount of greenhouse gases that are generated during production, often measured in tonnes. Brands will often offset their carbon footprint by committing to environmental causes and sustainable production methods.




Sugar Reduction - Consumers are looking to replace refined sugars and synthetic ingredients with natural alternatives, reducing or avoiding sugar whenever possible


Zero Sugar = The product less than 0.5g sugar in the nutritional declaration 


Low Sugar = Contains less than 5g of sugar per 100g if anything other than a liquid. For a drink, the item needs to have less than 2.5g of sugar per 100ml


Natural Sugar = Only contains naturally occurring sugars found within other active ingredients


No Added Sugar = Can also be called unsweetened and means no sugar has been added separately on top of natural sugar when the product was made


Refined Sugar Free = Does not contain white/granulated sugar or any sugar content which has undergone a refining process.

This can, but not always, lower the calorie content of a product.



Nutritionals - Consumers have given food and drink brands a clear message that a better balance between healthier and taste is wanted, paying closer attention to the nutritional labels on packets


Low Fat Where the product contains no more than 3g of fat per 100g for solids or 1.5g of fat per 100ml for liquids


Low Calorie 40 calories or less per serving. Moderate-Calorie: 100 calories or less per serving. High-Calorie: 400 calories or more per serving


Carbohydrates = There's two types of carbohydrates that the body turns into energy: simple and complex. 

Simple carbohydrates are often listed as "carbohydrates (of which sugars)".

This includes added sugars and natural sugars found in fruit and milk. 

Complex carbohydrates - also called starchy foods - can be found in potatoes, rice, wholegrains and wholewheat


Low Salt = All low salt snacks will show a green light food label. Adults should eat no more than 6g of salt a day (2.4g sodium) – that's around 1 teaspoon. 


Prebiotic These come from types of carbohydrates (mostly fibre) that humans can’t digest.

The good gut bacteria can digest these, ultimately benefitting good digestive health and immune function


Probiotic These are live bacteria found in certain foods or supplements. They can provide numerous health benefits and can be called 'good' or 'friendly' bacteria



Free From - Shoppers are better educated to what they put in their bodies, whilst dietary requirements have meant certain consumers must avoid ingredients which can make then poorly


Gluten Free A gluten-free diet doesn't contain any foods or drinks made from gluten.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye, which those with coeliac disease really must avoid it. Other shoppers look to remove gluten from their diet as a lifestyle choice


Wheat Free Wheat-free foods are free from any components of wheat, including other proteins that people with a wheat allergy can react to. These may still contain gluten


Dairy Free =  A product must have no milk and no ingredients that are part of milk. Since lactose comes from milk, a product that is dairy-free will not have lactose in it