Last updated: 17 August 2020
Nutrition information panels (NIP) on food labels provide information on the average quantity of energy in kilojoules or in kilojoules and kilocalories and these nutrients:
- saturated fat
- sodium - a component of salt.
A NIP will include information about other nutrients if a claim is made. For example, if a food has a ‘good source of fibre’ claim then the amount of dietary fibre in the food must be shown in the NIP. The NIP must be presented in a standard format which shows the average quantity per serving and per 100 g, or 100 mL if a liquid.
There are a few foods that don’t require a NIP, for example:
- foods sold unpackaged
- foods made and packaged at the point of sale, such as bread made and sold in a bakery
- herbs, spices, packaged water, tea and coffee because they have no significant nutritional value.
However, if a claim that requires nutrition information is made (for example, ‘good source of calcium’, ‘low fat’) a NIP must be provided.
What is in a NIP
The serving size is determined by the food business and can sometimes vary between products. The ‘per serving’ information is useful in estimating how much of a nutrient you’re eating. For example, if you’re watching your fat intake, use the ‘per serving’ amount to work out how much fat is in a serving of the food.
Quantity per 100g
The ‘quantity per 100 g’ or 100 ml if liquid information is handy to compare similar products. The figures in the ‘quantity per 100 g’ column are the same as percentages. For example, if 20 grams of fat is in the ‘per 100 g’ column, the product contains 20% fat.
The energy value is the total amount of kilojoules that is released when food is used by the body. Protein, fat, carbohydrate, dietary fibre and alcohol all provide energy (kilojoules).
Protein is essential for good health and is particularly important for children. Generally, people in developed countries eat enough protein to meet their requirements. Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk and cheese are animal sources of protein. Vegetable sources of protein include lentils, dried peas and beans, nuts and cereals.
Fat is listed in the NIP as total fat. This is the total of the saturated fats, trans fat, polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats in the food. The amount of saturated fat in the food must also be listed separately in the NIP.
If a nutrition claim is made about any of the following:
- saturated fats
- trans fat
- polyunsaturated fats
- monounsaturated fats
- omega-3, omega-6 or omega-9 fatty acids
The average quantity must be declared in the NIP. The quantity of the claimed fat must also be included in the NIP, for example, omega-3 fatty acids.
Carbohydrates are in foods like bread, cereals, rice, pasta, milk, vegetables and fruit. Carbohydrates in the NIP includes starches and sugars. Foods with high amounts of starches are white, wholemeal and wholegrain varieties of breads, cereal, rice and pasta, root vegetables and legumes.
Sugars are a type of carbohydrate and are part of the carbohydrates in the NIP as well as being listed separately. The amount of sugars includes naturally occurring sugars, such as those found in fruit, and added sugar. Note that products with ‘no added sugar’ nutrition claims may contain high levels of natural sugars. Read more about
The nutrition information panel does not need to include fibre unless a nutrition claim is made on the label about fibre, sugar or carbohydrate, for example ‘high in fibre’, ‘low in sugar’.
Sodium is the component of salt that affects health and high levels have been linked with high blood pressure and stroke, which is why it is included in the nutrition information panel. Read more about
sodium and salt.