When preparing your nutrition facts labeling for fermented foods or cultured foods, you may be surprised to learn that simply entering your ingredients into a database will not provide you with an accurate nutrition facts panel. Instead, your product will need to be analyzed in a food testing lab.
Nutritional testing for fermented foods is required because of the nutritional changes that occur in your food or beverage during the fermentation or culturing process. To understand the extent of the changes that can occur during fermentation, think of two common foods in your refrigerator, milk and yogurt. While it is clear that these are two very different foods, there is only one step that converts plain liquid milk into thick, tangy yogurt: culturing. Clearly, fermenting or culturing a food can result in significant changes! These changes will also be reflected in your nutrition facts labeling.
The changes that occur in fermented foods are due to the actions of the billions of live bacteria that you add in the form of a culture or starter. These bacteria effectively move into your food and begin to consume the parts of it that they find most appetizing (for example, carbohydrates and some vitamins). As they consume these parts of the food, the bacteria in fermented foods convert some of the food into what they consider “waste”, but what humans consider delicious – like new acids or broken-down proteins that give fermented or cultured foods their characteristic flavors.
As the bacteria in fermented foods alter your food product in this way, they naturally cause changes to the nutritional content of your food. Since the bacterial cultures are living organisms, the specific changes they make – which are reflected in your food’s nutritional makeup – can vary widely and depend on many different conditions. This makes it extremely difficult to predict exactly what effect culturing will have on the nutritional content on any particular food item. Therefore, when creating new nutrition labels for a fermented or cultured food or beverage, it is important to perform food testing to know exactly what is in your final product.
Fortunately, RL Food Testing Laboratory is prepared with everything needed to perform nutritional analysis in a food testing lab and provide you with compliant FDA nutrition labels based on your unique product. Let us help you simplify the complex changes that occur in your fermented foods and get the nutrition facts labeling you need to get your product onto shelves!