Understanding food labels

The sale of food products is governed by labelling rules that inform consumers about the products they are likely to buy and consume. In France, for pre-packaged products, the labelling must at least contain information in French, and detail the essential information prior to the act of purchase. Among this information, it is compulsory to find


The name of the product
It describes the product and its nature.


The origin
Since the law on the transparency of information on food products of 27 May 2020, it is now mandatory to indicate the geographical origin of the product.


The list of ingredients
Many food products carry prominent claims about their health benefits. However, the list of ingredients that make up the food product or that have been used to produce the product remains the main source of information:

  • Ingredients are listed in descending order of weight (e.g. on an apricot jam, if the sugar is listed before the apricot fruit, it means that the amount of sugar is greater than the amount of apricots).
  • The longer the list of ingredients, the more the product has been processed.
  • Multiple processing is usually accompanied by the addition of a large number of additives.
  • Allergens should be marked in bold so that they are visible to people at risk.


Decoding the packaging of Sigdal Norwegian crackers: 


The percentage of ingredients highlighted in the product name
If, for example, the name of the product is "apricot jam", the % of apricots must appear in the list of ingredients. Conversely, it is not useful to specify the % of sugar.


The net weight of the product
If the product is immersed in a liquid, the total weight must be shown as well as the drained weight (net weight).


The use-by date
A distinction is made between the "Use By" date, which indicates that the product may not be consumed after the date indicated, and the "Best Before" date, which is merely a recommendation that can be read as "best before", after which the nutritional quality of the product is likely to deteriorate.









The batch number
This number allows the product to be traced in the event of a product recall.


The name of the operator marketing the product in France
The company marketing the product in France must be a member of the European Union. Its name and full address must appear on the product label.


The nutrition nutrition declaration
The nutrition declaration has been mandatory since 2016. It makes it possible to know the energy value expressed in calories and the composition of nutrients expressed in grams (carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, vitamins, minerals) of a foodstuff per 100g.
In a so-called "balanced" diet, the total energy intake for an adult consuming 2,000 calories per day would be : 50% carbohydrate (including fibre), 35% fat and 15% protein.

In addition to this compulsory information, a certain amount of optional data can be added by the manufacturer who wishes to promote and make us buy his product. Thus, we can find the mention of labels.

Official labels:
- label rouge: quality label
- label bleu blanc cœur: nutritional content in Omega 3
- AOP: protected designation of origin
- AOC: protected designation of origin
- IGP: protected geographical indication

Organic labels:
- AB: organic farming

Fair trade labels:
- SPP: symbol of peasant producers
- Ecocert fair trade label, combining fair trade, Corporate Social Responsibility and Organic Agriculture
- Fairtrade Max Havelaar label

Marketing labels:
"Product of the Year", "Voted Product of the Year", "Flavour of the Year" are marketing claims without any nutritional or qualitative value.


It is an optional device that indicates the nutritional quality of the product. It is a graphical marker that classifies the nutritional score of foods into 5 levels: letter A ("best nutritional quality") to E ("worst nutritional quality").


It is an independent indicator to better inform and "raise awareness" of consumers about the environmental impact of food products. It will take into account the analysis of the product's life cycle, production, transport and packaging.
Sigdal thus confirms its sustainable environmental positioning since all the packaging of our crackers is made of recyclable plastic and without any glued label.