Nutrition analysis refers to the ability to find the nutritional content of a given food item.  Most of the time, this data is returned:

Macronutrients                    Micronutrients
Total Fat (g)   Vitamin A (µg_RAE)
Saturated Fat (g)   Vitamin C (mg)
Trans Fat (g)   Vitamin E (mg)
Polyunsaturated Fat (g)   Vitamin B6 (mg)
Monounsaturated Fat (g)   Vitamin B12 (µg)
Cholesterol (mg)   Vitamin K µg
Sodium (mg)   Thiamin (mg)
Total Carbohydrate (g)   Riboflavin (mg)
Dietary Fiber (g)   Niacin (mg)
Sugars (g)   Pantothenic acid (mg)
Protein (g)   Phosphorus (mg)
    Magnesium (mg)
    Zinc (mg)
    Selenium (µg)
    Copper (mg)
    Manganese (mg)
    Folate (µg)
    Carotene, beta (µg)

To do the analysis there are two options 

Option 1: Database Analysis

FDA Guidance document section N37 specifically allows the use of an ingredient composition database.  Menutail specifically uses a database provided by the USDA.  What the USDA has done is performed analytical lab work on over 8,789 common foods.  What you can then do in Menutail is enter your recipe formulation in grams.  Here we have an example of walnut cookies.

Walnut Cookies Weight in Grams
butter without salt 169.896
sugar 106.104
eggs 75.792
vanilla extract 3.792
flour 240
baking soda 2.664
salt 4.032
walnuts 127.2

Menutail retrieves the already performed analytical data on each item, then runs an algorithim to sum up the entire nutritional value of your product.  Lastly Menutail runs compliance rules and then you get your nutrition facts label as a PDF.


Option 2: Laboratory Analysis

The second option is to mail a sample of your food product to a lab where the lab will then do the analysis.  This option is typically used in the following scenarios:

  • Your recipe consists of rare ingredients (e.g. some type of new kelp discovered)
  • Beverages.  The USDA database contains analysis for most juices, teas, milks, and some nut milks.  However if you have a special kombucha you will most likely have to use a lab.

The next big difference here is cost.  Laboratory analysis ranges from $650-900 per product.

What Option Should I Use?

If your recipe consists of common ingredients, our recommendation is to use a database analysis service such as Menutail.  If your formulation contains a unique formulation that doesn't consist of common food ingredients, our recommendation is to do laboratory analysis.

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