Nutrition Information Panels – What is in it?

Have you been to a supermarket and sometimes feel overwhelmed with choices? How do you compare between products? What do you look out for when you are looking at the food label?

What is a nutrition information panel? 

The nutrition information panel (NIP) is found on most food and drinks labels and provides information about the nutrition content of a food or drink, allowing you to make an informed choice. The NIP provides information on the average quantity of and nutrients: protein, total fat, saturated fat, carbohydrate, sugars and sodium (salt). This information is provided per serving size and per 100g (grams) or per 100mL (millilitres).

A NIP will also include other nutrients for which the manufacturer has made a nutrient content claim. As an example, Yakult has included the Lactobacillus casei Shirota strain in our NIP as only our fermented milk drinks contain the unique probiotic Shirota strain.

Ingredients list 

All ingredients in packaged foods are listed in descending order by weight. Checking the ingredients list will tell you what has been added to the product, which is particularly important if you need to avoid certain ingredients due to allergies or a health condition. You can use this information to help decide if the product is the right choice for you.

Serving size 

The serving size is determined by the manufacturer, which can help you to calculate the nutrition information for the serve you eat.

A “serving size” is a standard amount of a food, such as a cup. Serving sizes can help you when choosing foods and when comparing like items while shopping, but they are not recommendations for how much a certain food to eat. You will need to take into consideration if your serving size is the same as the recommended serving size, or if it is smaller or larger then what you need. A dietitian can help you with this.

Quantity per 100g or 100mL if liquid

This information is useful to compare similar products. The figures in the ‘quantity per 100g’ column are the same as percentages. For example, 20g of fat in this column means the product contains 20% fat.


Energy is measured in kilojoules (kJ) or calories (cal). Protein, fat, carbohydrate, dietary fibre, and alcohol all provide energy (kilojoules). The amount of energy each of us needs depends on many factors and differ between individuals.


‘Total fat’ includes all polyunsaturated, monosaturated, saturated and trans fat in the food. Check the ‘saturated fat’ amount on similar products and choose the one with the least amount of saturated fat per 100g.

‘Trans fats’ are not required by law to be listed on the NIP but some manufacturers will list trans fats. Look for products with less than 1g of trans fats per 100g, particularly when buying margarines or baked goods.


‘Total carbohydrate’ includes both the sugars and starches in food. The ‘sugar’ amount refers to how much of the total carbohydrate is made up of sugars, which includes both added sugars and natural sugars such as lactose in milk and fructose in fruit.

Remember, the total carbohydrate affects blood glucose levels, not just the sugar. A dietitian can help you work out how much carbohydrate you need each day.


This figure tells you how much sodium (salt) is in the food. Where possible, choose products with ‘reduced’ or ‘no added’ salt. A low-salt food has less than 120mg of sodium per 100g. When comparing similar products, choose the one with the lowest sodium per 100g.

Dietary fibre

The NIP does not need to include fibre amounts unless a nutrition claim in made on the label about fibre, sugar or carbohydrate, for example, ‘high in fibre’.