How to Determine Serving Size and Servings Per Container

Determining the serving size for your new product is one of the most important steps in creating a proper nutritional panel. In recent years the FDA has made it a point to ensure that food labels have an appropriate serving size that truly reflects what is consumed by the average consumer in an average sitting. Anyone who manufactures a food product is subject to the FDA serving size requirements.

The FDA defines serving size as the amount of a particular food customarily consumed in one sitting. The serving size is established through the FDAs Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed (or RACC).

Determining Your Serving Size

  1. The first step in determining the serving size for your food product is to reference the RACC for your item. Click here and search for your food product. Not every single product type is listed, more on this below. Example: BBQ Sauce reference amount is 2 tbsp
  2. Once your reference amount is located you will then need to ensure you have both a “familiar” unit(cups, tsp, fl oz, etc), and a metric unit of measure(g, mL, etc). For
    Dual Column Panel
    Dual Column Panel

    our BBQ sauce example we would have to weigh out 2 tbsp of BBQ sauce and determine how many grams is in 2 tbsp. Example: 2 tbsp (36g)

  3. There are some special cases that will require special serving sizes and nutritional panels
    • Dual Column Nutritional Panels- Items that are meant to be combined with other items should have dual column nutritional panels to display the product nutritional AND the nutritional information of the finished good. Example: Baking kits that have eggs, milk and other ingredients added.
    • Single Serving Label- Products sold individually that contains less than 200% of the RACC require to be labelled as one serving. Example: The RACC for a beverage is 12 fl oz, if the bottle size is 20 fl oz, there has to be a 1 serving label.
    • Products That Require Mixing- Products that require water to be added should be labelled as how much product it takes to make the RACC. Example: A concentrated beverage should list the serving as the amount needed to make the 12 fl oz RACC.
  4. After determining your serving size you can then determine your servings per container. You simply divide the container size by the serving size. If your container holds 2-5 servings you must round to the nearest half serving. If the your container holds 5 or more you can round to the nearest whole serving. Example: Our BBQ sauce bottle holds 576g of product. 576g container/36g serving = 16 servings per container.
  5. At this point the RACCs are only guidelines published by the FDA. It is recognized that not every product will fit neatly into the defined RACCs. If that is the case it is advisable to find an amount that you can reasonably defend as one serving.

If you’re still not comfortable determining your serving size FAD CALC offers complete nutritional analysis and label compliance consulting. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us or you can see a list of our services and pricing.