NutriCalc® and Analysis compared
If you need nutrition information for your food products, you have two options: analysis and calculation. As a former UKAS-accredited lab manager and the originator of the NutriCalc® software, my aim here is to help you make that choice.
So how do NutriCalc® and analysis compare?
Analysis can be applied to nearly all foods (exception: for products that need a very accurate carbohydrate value, such as ‘Atkins’-style foods, analysis probably won’t give the precision needed).
But, it is expensive and can be very slow. Samples of your food will need to be made and sent to a lab. This makes analysis impractical for the recipe design stage.
The precision of food analysis is limited: results will rarely be ‘spot-on’. Also, however good the lab and the methods used, they are at the mercy of the people making or taking the samples. If the sample you send to a lab isn’t very typical of your product, (ie isn’t an average sample), you might as well not bother. And, although not that common, mistakes can occur in the lab.
NutriCalc® Calculations can be applied to most foods, (exception: fermented foods and a few others).
It is quick and requires no samples, so it is ideal in recipe-design. For designing healthier recipes, NutriCalc® gives the contributions of each nutrient to the total, thus making recipe adjustments easy and enabling you to achieve target levels before production.
But what about accuracy?
At NutriCalc® we believe that there are three golden rules:
- Apply only to suitable food processes (eg not deep fried)
- Use good, accurate data
- Avoid human error (checking should be a routine)
Providing these rules are followed, NutriCalc® will give good, accurate values.
At NutriCalc®, because of our background and perspective on both analysis and calculation, we will advise you and offer you our expert support to achieve the best quality results possible for your recipes.
With absolute integrity, if we don’t think calculation is suitable for your products we’ll tell you.
In summary then, for some products, like deep fried foods, analysis is the only way to achieve accurate results. Having said that, where there is a high level of product variance, it is possible to use a combination of both analysis and calculated results in the first instance to achieve a greater level of accuracy and consistency moving forwards. Providing you use good quality data, you can achieve excellent results from NutriCalc® for the vast majority of both raw and cooked foods.
If you’d like to discuss any of the above with me please call or email.
Dr. David Bartley