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Food Consulting Company partners with professionals involved in nutrition analysis and food labeling to understand U.S. food label regulations. From academia and legal to creative and software vendors, we bring clarity and guidance to food labeling and nutrition-related projects, ensuring compliance.

Case Study

 

Custom Training Bears Fruit for Commodity Groups

 

 

The Client

Creating Nutrition Facts labels for fresh agricultural products requires a keen understanding of FDA requirements – perhaps unfamiliar territory for commodiy boards and growers. This was the case for a veteran industry consultant whose role includes educating growers of these agricultural products about how to use the label to inform consumers about the nutritional benefits of their products. Recognizing that food labeling is not her area of expertise and wanting to provide her clients with accurate and the most up-to-date information on FDA regulations, the consultant turned to Food Consulting Company to augment her knowledge and create a custom training program to help educate her client.

The Challenge

Declaring nutrients on fresh agricultural products is voluntary, but not a trivial exercise. Unlike manufactured or branded foods that have a consistent nutrient profile, there is inherent variation in agricultural products. Commodiy food labelers often use USDA nutrient database values derived from continuous product sampling. Ensuring products are within those bounds and knowing what nutrients and product attributes are allowed in product promotion is challenging indeed. Adding to the challenge is knowing how or when to use the FDA values for fresh fruits and vegetables if not using values from the USDA nutrient database.

The Solution

An expert from Food Consulting Company worked side-by-side with the consultant to develop a strategy to help educate the growers and provide a resource guide for them to refer to over time. The Food Consulting Company expert compiled the resource guide with an overview of what labeling involves and intracacies of the regulations, customized specifically for the commodity grown. It included compliant Nutrition Facts labels using information in the USDA nutrient database and how to apply all FDA rules related to rounding and percent daily values.

In a follow-on webinar for growers, packers, commodity board leaders and their marketing team, the Food Consulting Company expert led a training that stepped through the resource guide. She provided an overview of the food labeling process, how nutrients are to be listed, what graphical requirements are needed and other pertinent FDA requirements. Putting it all together, she provided example food labels to illustrate compliant Nutrition Facts for use in the marketplace.

The Results

Education about the benefits of Nutrition Facts labeling was of great value to the commodity growers and leadership team who wanted to brand and promote their fresh produce. The custom-developed resource guide and webinar proved very useful for the audience to understand how FDA regulations coincide with the USDA nutrient database, what is needed for compliant Nutrition Facts labels and clear examples of what the labels look like – a helpful reference for the future given that many commodity boards do not have in-house expertise in this area.

"I certainly don't know all the nuances of FDA regulations given my work with commodity boards and councils but I know how to identify quality resources – in this case, Food Consulting Company. And I benefitted from the training as much as my client did!"
— Mary Jo Feeney, MS, RD, FADA, specializing in nutrition communications, marketing and coordination of research activities for agricultural commodity boards


Expert Training for GENESIS R&D Software

The Client

ESHA Research, founded in 1981, offers nutritional analysis and label development solutions, including Genesis R&D Food Formulation and Labeling Software, the leading software used by the food industry around the world. Food manufacturers, educational facilities, restaurants, healthcare facilities and other industry institutions use Genesis R&D for nutritional analysis, labeling, product development and more.

The Challenge

ESHA Research conducts open training sessions for Genesis R&D software at several industry conferences as well as private, customized on-site trainings. While many are familiar with the basic functions of the software, few are truly expert using Genesis R&D. For ESHA, the challenge was to feature expert trainers skilled in all aspects of the Genesis R&D software, capable of customizing the trainings and addressing the myriad of regulatory-related questions.

The Solution

Food Consulting Company began its collaboration with ESHA in 1998 to deliver the Genesis R&D trainings. These were often two-day ESHA-sponsored sessions at industry conferences as well as customized trainings at food companies in the U.S., Canada and abroad. As partners, Food Consulting Company brought to ESHA forward-looking ideas such as the need for “advanced” topics for experienced users and those who sought deeper regulatory guidance. In addition, Food Consulting Company’s handbook “Due Diligence with Database Nutrition Analysis” was distributed widely to Genesis R&D users to ensure that the results of database nutrition analyses passed government, media, consumer and competitive scrutiny.

The Results

Over 1,000 participants from companies including Heinz, Kraft, Target, Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Winn-Dixie, McDonalds and ConAgra have attended Food Consulting Company’s training sessions for ESHA. Throughout the 80+ sessions, attendees have consistently provided positive feedback about Food Consulting Company’s expert, highly knowledgeable approach and hands on guidance. In addition, many took advantage of Food Consulting Company’s sold-out advanced user trainings that provided an overview of key insights about regulatory issues many food labelers face when developing labels using the software.

"I learned so much about Genesis software. Very practical, easy to understand examples will help me enormously when I get back to work." 
— Diana Michiulis,  Sr. Scientist Regulatory Affairs, Kraft Foods R&D Munich, Inc., Genesis R&D Training Participant

For ESHA, the successful training sessions have resulted in expanded usage and better understanding of Genesis R&D software.

"You are always terrific and a great benefit to us with your knowledge, feedback, expertise, and kindness ... can we hire you?" 
— Scott Hadsall, Sr. Product Consultant, ESHA Research

 

More Client Comments

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Janet Lilleberg,
Researcher,
University of Minnesota
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Jingying Yang,
Student,
Yale University
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Richard Perlmutter,
Owner,
Abington Nutrition Services LLC
"This is fantastic! Thank you for getting the analyses done so quickly, especially with the holidays intervening."
Phyllis Pellman Good,
Executive Editor,
Good Books
"You are always terrific and a great benefit to us with your knowledge, feedback, expertise and kindness... can we hire you?"
Scott Hadsall,
Sr. Product Consultant,
ESHA Research
"Your input was insightful, realistic and incredibly valuable. Thank you!"
Amanda Berhaupt-Glickstein, MS, RD,
Doctoral Student,
Rutgers University
"I couldn't do my job without your newsletter. It's invaluable."
Kimberly Lord Stewart,
Author,
"Eating Between the Lines, a field guide to supermarket food labeling"
"Thank you for being an integral part of the IDDBA show this year. We're learning a lot with our new launch of Expert Neighborhood. I know your meetings inspired, enlightened and encouraged people to take some decisive action."
Mary Kay O'Connor,
VP Special Projects,
International Dairy Deli Bakery Association
Working with Food Consulting Company was very easy. They are highly responsive and always available to answer questions. And I benefitted from our custom training as much as my client did.
Mary Jo Feeney, MS, RD, FADA,
Consultant,
specializing in nutrition communications, marketing and coordination of research activities for agricultural commodity boards
"Thanks again for your thoughtful responses and attention to detail throughout the process. It's been a pleasure to work with you!"
Michelle Green,
Senior Account Supervisor,
Edelman
"I love the information in Food Label News — I pass it on to my clients."
Camille Hendsbee, RD, LDN,
Medical Nutrition Therapist,
Megna Nutrition Associates
Food Consulting Company is VERY knowledgeable in this area. It's so great having Karen to use as a reference with the new Nutrition Facts transition.
Food Label Conference Attendee,
FDA Labeling Q&A,
Prime Label Consultants
"Thank you for the excellent service!"
Jan Matsano,
Founder,
Mindful Food Consulting
"You have found a niche and fulfill a need in the food industry. We have utmost confidence in your expertise and refer our clients who require nutrition labeling or advice on package labeling regulations that are unclear."
Patricia P. Groves,
Co-President,
Groves & Company