National Healthy School Canteens

Guidelines for healthy foods and drinks supplied in school canteens

Reading Nutrition Information Panels

Page last updated: 28 October 2013

The nutrition information panel (NIP) is found on most food and drink labels and provides information about the nutrition content of a food or drink, allowing you to make a decision about whether a product may be sold in a healthy school canteen.

The NIP displays information on energy (kilojoules – kJ), protein, total fat, saturated fat, carbohydrate, sugars and sodium (salt), as well as any other nutrient for which the manufacturer has made a claim. For example, if there is a claim on the label saying ‘this food is a good source of calcium’ then the calcium content must be listed on the NIP. This information is provided per serving size and per 100g (grams) or per 100mL (millilitres). If the product falls into the AMBER category, the NIP should be compared to the AMBER Nutrient Criteria Tables.

Example A: Crumbed Chicken Pattie

1. Identify the correct assessment table. This food belongs in the group Hot food items and processed meats (Table 1).
2. Hot food items and processed meats are assessed per 100g, so look at the quantity per 100g column on the NIP.
3. Compare the 100g column to the criteria in Table 1 for meat products and alternatives.
4. The chicken burger is categorised as AMBER as it contains less than 1000kJ energy, less than 5g saturated fat and less than 450mg sodium per 100g. This product may be sold in a healthy school canteen.

Image showing how to refer the information of Quantity per serving / Quantity per 100 g in Crumbed Chicken Pattie with Table 1 : Hot food items and processed meats assessed per 100gms to determine which category it can be classified
Image showing how to refer the information of Quantity per serving / Quantity per 100 g in Crumbed Chicken Pattie with Table 1 : Hot food items and processed meats assessed per 100gms to determine which category it can be classified

Example B: Banana flavoured milk-based ice

1. Check if the first ingredient is milk. If the first ingredient is milk, proceed to assess the item against the per serve criteria. If milk is not listed as the first ingredient the item is not considered ‘milk-based’. There is no need for further assessment. The item is categorised as RED and should not be sold in the school canteen.
2. Identify the correct assessment table. This food belongs in the group Snack food items (Table 2).
3. Snack food items are assessed per serve, so look at the quantity per serving column on the NIP.
4. The banana flavoured milk-based ice is categorised as AMBER as it lists milk as the first ingredient, contains less than 600kJ energy and less than 3g saturated fat per serve. This product may be sold in a healthy school canteen.

Image showing how to refer the information of Quantity per serving / Quantity per 100 g in Banana flavoured milk-based ice with Table 2 : Snack food items assessed per serve to determine which category it can be classified

Example C: Fruit and Muesli Breakfast Bar

1. Identify the correct assessment table. This food belongs in the group Snack food items (Table 2).
2. Snack food items are assessed per serve, so look at the quantity per serving column on the NIP.
3. Compare the per serving size to the criteria in Table 2 for sweet snack food, bars and biscuits.
4. Although the bar has less than 3g saturated fat and more than 1g fibre per serve, it exceeds the energy criteria of 600kJ or less.
5. Therefore, this product is categorised as RED and should not sold in a healthy school canteen.

Image showing how to refer the information of Quantity per serving / Quantity per 100 g in Fruit and Muesli Breakfast Bar with Table 2 : Snack food items assessed per serve to determine which category it can be classified