Using the front of pack label

The front of pack label contains a great amount of information about the content of a product, so below is a breakdown of what all the numbers mean using a shepherd's pie label as an example.

What the numbers relate to

The top line of text on the label gives the amount of food the information below relates to. In this case it is 'per pack'.


The top numbers give the amount of each nutrient in one portion of the food. In this case the portion is 'per pack' so the front of pack labels provide the amount of calories and grams of each nutrient within the whole pack.


For this label, the shepherd's pie contains 461 calories, 19g of fat, of which 10g is saturates, with 2.1g of sugars and 2.3g of salt.

This section can be useful to look at when comparing labels and making choices about which foods to eat.

How much of the Reference Intake (RI)?

The bottom half of the label indicates how much a portion of the food contributes to the Reference Intake (RI) values.

RIs are the total or one hundred per cent (100%) of the recommended amount of energy and the recommended maximum amounts of fat, saturates, sugars and salt that an average adult should eat in one day.

Energy- The RI for energy is 2,000kcal. The top line of numbers on the label states this pack contains 461kcal. Of a 2,000 daily amount, 461 calories is 23% of that 'total', so the %RI for this product is 23%. This is shown by the number on the bottom of the label.

The same calculations are made for the remaining nutrients: reading across the label shows that the shepherd's pie contains 27% of the RI for fat, 50% of the RI for saturated fat, 2% of the RI for sugars and 38% of the RI for salt.

The calculations are already done and the percentage is shown on the label. These numbers can be used to check and compare and choose the most appropriate product.

Last reviewed: 28 Aug 2020