Interpretation of food composition data

All data refer to 100 g edible portion for solid foods or to 100 ml for liquid foods. Inedible fractions such as stones, kernels, bones, etc. are not taken into account. Unless otherwise stated, all data refer to fresh, uncooked, unprocessed foods.

Some examples are given below for clarification purposes:

100 g bananas = 100 g peeled bananas
100 g peaches = 100 g peaches without stones
100 g cherries = 100 g cherries without stones and stalks
100 g walnuts = 100 g shelled walnuts
100 g chop = 100 g chop without bones
100 g trout = 100 g trout without fish bones, head etc

All data are understood to mean average values and not as absolute values, because the food composition of foods is subject to natural variations. The individual composition of a food depends on factors such as climate, degree of ripeness, season, origin, variety, feed, storage and processing conditions, etc.

For processed products such as sausages, dairy products or pastries, different recipes lead to considerable differences in the nutritional values.

The total weight of the nutrients is not always 100 g exactly. There are various reasons for this:

  • The information is based on 100 ml and the food is more or less dense than 1. For example, a density > 1g/ml means that 100 ml is heavier than 100 g and the total weight of the nutrients therefore exceeds 100 g.
  • The individual pieces of information come from different analyses and/or sources. Deviations of +/- 5% are tolerated.

The Swiss Food Composition Database mentions several preparations (e.g. apple pie or risotto) and foods (e.g. breads), whose nutritional value has been calculated. To do this, typical current recipes were used as much as possible. When dealing with foods that are frequently bought ready to eat, such as breads, cake mixes or salad dressings, the recipes were adapted to correspond more closely to the commercially available products. Some of these foods are sometimes also offered in non-industrial versions and exhibit the term “home made”. Unless otherwise noted, recipes prepared by adding salt were calculated with non-iodised salt.

If nutritional values are shown for a given food (e.g. on its packaging or on the company website) they generally have to be based on the generic entries1 found in the Swiss Food Composition Database.

Likewise, the quantities expressed on the packaging represent average values that have been analysed or calculated (e.g. by using the Swiss Food Composition Database). They must reflect the nutrient contents at the time of sale (or at the sell-by or latest consumption date) and refer to the foods that are ready to eat.

1) By generic foods, we mean general/ordinary foods with no link to a specific manufacturer or provider.