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The advice sheets below have the latest information on food standards. If you need more advice call 01753 475111 (Regulatory Services option).
In the guide
Labelling requirements for packaged food products, specifically relating to the quantitative ingredient declaration
This guidance is for England and Wales
This guidance relates to prepacked food only.
'Prepacked food' is defined in EU Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers as "… food and the packaging into which it was put before being offered for sale, whether such packaging encloses the food completely or only partially, but in any event in such a way that the contents cannot be altered without opening or changing the packaging …".
The definition of prepacked does not cover food packed on the sales premises at the consumer's request; nor does it cover food that is sold from the premises on which it was packed (referred to as 'prepacked for direct sale').
Quantitative ingredient declaration
Certain ingredients will need a quantitative ingredient declaration (QUID).
QUID is an indication of how much of the finished product is made up of a certain ingredient; it is always expressed as a percentage.
The QUID must either be given immediately after the ingredient appears in the name of the food or, more commonly, in brackets immediately after the ingredient appears in the ingredient list. For example - peanut butter:
When is a QUID required?
Not all ingredients will require a QUID.
Ingredients will need a QUID in the following circumstances.
The ingredient appears in the name of the food.
This applies to all types of name (fancy, customary, descriptive, etc; see 'Labelling of prepacked foods: product name').
The ingredient is commonly associated with the food by consumers.
If people think of a certain ingredient as being common to the product then you should provide a QUID for it. Examples include beef mince in spaghetti Bolognese and kidney beans in chilli con carne.
The ingredient is emphasised in some way on the product.
This applies to emphasis in any form so the name of the ingredient, descriptions of the ingredient, pictures of the ingredient, etc would all trigger the need to provide a QUID. For example, a strawberry and banana smoothie that has pictures of apples on the packaging would need QUID for the strawberry, the banana and the apple.
If you did not provide a QUID then the customer might not be able to distinguish it from products with a similar name or appearance.
For example, 'Tropical fruit juice' and 'Tropical fruit juice drink'. The juice is made from pressed fruit whilst the juice drink is made from concentrates and flavourings; the juice would need a QUID for the fruit content to help consumers see the difference between the two products.
In certain circumstances ingredients will not need a QUID even though they meet the criteria above.
The ingredient is used in small quantities for flavouring purposes.
For example, 'Chopped tomatoes with basil and oregano'. In this example the herbs will be present in very small quantities to impart flavour and so will not need a QUID.
Even though the ingredient appears in the name of the food the amount that is present will not govern consumer choice.
A good example of this is garlic bread. Garlic appears in the name of the product and so would normally need a QUID; however, the amount of garlic present in the product will not affect a consumer's decision to purchase one product over another and as such no QUID is required.
Mixtures of fruit, vegetables, mushrooms, spices or herbs where the amounts of each are likely to vary but no one ingredient dominates.
These would be declared as 'fruit', 'vegetables', 'herbs', etc in the ingredient list and no QUID given.
Sweeteners, if they only appear in the name of the food because of the requirement to state 'with sweeteners'.
If you had deliberately brought attention to the fact that you had used a certain type of sweetener - 'now with stevia', for example - you would need to provide a QUID as normal.
Any ingredient that already needs the quantity to be declared by other legislation.
For example, cocoa solids in chocolate as required by the Cocoa and Chocolate Products (England) Regulations 2003 and fruit / sugar content in jam as required by the Jam and Similar Products (England) Regulations 2003*.
[*And the equivalent regulations for Wales: Cocoa and Chocolate Products (Wales) Regulations 2003 / Jam and Similar Products (Wales) Regulations 2018.)
Any vitamins and minerals emphasised on the label.
Any claim about vitamins and minerals triggers the need for a nutrition declaration, which will include the weight of vitamins and minerals present.
Any ingredient that has a drained weight indicated on the label.
How to calculate the QUID
QUID is calculated at the mixing bowl stage of production.
Calculate the QUID by dividing the weight of the ingredient (X) by the combined weight of all the ingredients (Y) and multiplying by 100; the resulting number will be the percentage of the product that is made up of that ingredient.
For products that lose moisture during cooking or production - for example, butter biscuits - the QUID should be the percentage of the named ingredient in the product as sold.
There are many requirements for prepacked food. Please see our other guides on the subject:
Failure to comply with trading standards law can lead to enforcement action and to sanctions, which may include a fine and/or imprisonment. For more information please see 'Trading standards: powers, enforcement & penalties'.
Last reviewed / updated: June 2020
In this update
No major changes
This information is intended for guidance; only the courts can give an authoritative interpretation of the law.
The guide's 'Key legislation' links may only show the original version of the legislation, although some amending legislation is linked to separately where it is directly related to the content of a guide. Information on amendments to legislation can be found on each link's 'More Resources' tab.