Food Guidance

Quantative Ingredients Explained

The Food Labelling (Amendment) Regulations 1998 and the Food Labelling (Amendment) (No 2) Regulations 1999 require the quantity of certain ingredients or categories of ingredients to appear on food labelling.

What is covered by the requirements?

The quantity of an ingredient (or category of ingredients) should be indicated where:

  • It appears in the name of the food or is usually associated with that name by the consumer
  • It is emphasised on the labelling in words, pictures or graphics
  • It is essential to characterise or distinguish a food.

Are there any exemptions?

Exemptions are provided for:-

  • Food (except for meat products) which is not prepacked
  • Food prepacked on the premises from which it is sold. (Pre-packed for Direct Sale)
  • Where a drained net weight is indicated
  • Where the ingredient is a flavouring present only in small quantities
  • Where the quantity of the ingredient present does not govern consumer choice as it is not essential to characterise or distinguish the food
  • Mixed fruit, nuts, vegetables, spices and herbs, indicated as “in variable proportions” where no one predominates
  • The quantity of sweeteners and/or sugar where the statement “with sweeteners”, or “with sugar and sweeteners” is required to appear with the name of the food
  • Where the quantity of vitamins and minerals appears in a nutritional declaration.

How should I indicate the quantity?

The quantity should be expressed as a percentage (%) of the total weight and appear either:

  • In the ingredients list next to the ingredient (or category of ingredients) in question, or
  • In or next to the name of the food.

Normally the percentage will be calculated at the time the ingredient is used in the preparation of the food. However special rules apply where foods lose moisture following heat or other treatment when the declaration should be expressed as a percentage of the weight of the final product, (e.g. Cooked Meat Products, Cakes, Biscuits, Cured Meats).

Example Calculations

The fish content of a fishfinger would be calculated as:
Before Cooking:
Fish + 70g
Batter + 20g
Crumb + 20g
Total = 110g

During Cooking:
Frying Oil Taken Up  +   7g
Water Lost During Frying   –  5g
Weight After Cooking =  112g

It is the final weight the calculation is done from
70g (original fish weight) x 100 ÷ 112g (final product weight) = 62.5% Fish

The butter content of a “butter cookie” (which loses moisture during baking), would be calculated as:
Flour + 100g
Sugar +35g
Butter + 50g
Eggs + 10g
Total Before Baking = 195g

Total After Baking = 169g

The calculation is done from the final weight
50g (original butter weight) x 100 ÷ 169g (final weight) = 29.6%

Are there any special provisions for Meat Products?

Yes. These are laid down in the Meat Products (England) Regulations 2003. These Regulations also require a QUID declaration for meat products sold loose.

The Food Standards Agency has produced a leaflet explaining these Regulations and how to calculate QUID for meat products.

Are there any other special rules?

There are special rules for:

  • Products sold dehydrated.
  • Ingredients re-hydrated during manufacturing.
  • Volatile ingredients.
  • Special emphasis claims which require nutritional labelling.
  • Dietary supplements where relevant ingredients are qualified elsewhere in the labelling.
  • Certain products covered by the Jam and Similar Products Regulations 2003, Fruit Juices and Fruit Nectars (England) Regulations 2003 and Spreadable Fats (Marketing Standards) (England) Regulations 1999.

If you have any queries about the application of these regulations to your products please contact the Trading Standards Service for advice before producing revised labelling.

This advice is designed to provide basic guidance to traders. It is not a complete or authoritative statement of the law. For further assistance on this or any other Trading Standards legislation, please contact your nearest office.