Ingredients list

The ingredients list, like the mandatory nutrition labelling, is commonly found on the back or side of packaging.

It is a legal requirement to have an ingredients list, and all of the ingredients used within the product must be included. All ingredients used are listed in descending order of weight.

The amount of an ingredient (as a percentage of the total) used in a product will also be stated where:

  1. The ingredient (e.g. steak and kidney pie) or category of ingredients (e.g. vegetable pasty) appears in the name of the food.
  2. It is usually associated with that name by the consumer e.g. lamb in a shepherd's pie.
  3. It is emphasised on the labelling in words, pictures or graphics e.g. strawberry in a yogurt described as having 'chunks of real strawberry'.
  4. The ingredient is essential to characterise a food.

The ingredients list can help if someone wants to look for, or avoid, a certain ingredient. For example:

  1. The origin of vegetable oils and fats now need to be listed within the ingredients. They might appear grouped together as 'vegetable oils' but the individual types will be listed afterwards in brackets, like this: (e.g. palm, sunflower or rapeseed).
  2. If someone has an allergy they can look at the ingredients list to see specific ingredients. Common ingredients which can cause allergies now have to be marked in some way so they stand out within the ingredients list.

Last reviewed: 11 Dec 2014