At some point, you’re probably going to find yourself asking this question: Should I take on the expense of purchasing nutrition analysis software for my business?
There are a lot of factors to take into account, not the least of which is your budget. But, once you do your analysis, you’ll find the benefits far outweigh the cost.
Accuracy has always been important, but it is becoming increasingly more so. Consumers want to know exactly what is in their food, whether it’s the amount of carbs, possible allergens, organic content, etc. And you are responsible for giving them that information.
Keeping the analysis in-house will help you control the quality assurance process. You’re more familiar with your product than anyone else, so you’ll be able to notice discrepancies others might not.
[content_box]Questions to ask: Where is the data sourced from? How accurate is the data? How often is the data updated? Is the nutrient data unrounded? Are there any due diligence checks?[/content_box]
AGILITY AND FLEXIBILITY
Things change, and they can change quickly, especially if your company operates within the global marketplace. Having immediate and continual access to the software you need lets you adapt instantly and lets you manage your business narrative while getting your products to market as soon as possible.
[content_box]Questions to ask: Can I duplicate existing recipes and save them with a new name? How easy is it to modify existing recipes? Can I add my own food and ingredients to the database? How frequently are the program features updated?[/content_box]
Good software will support growth and encourage innovation. A worthwhile software package will allow you explore unrealized possibilities, to brainstorm new ideas, to imagine “what if” scenarios and more, all while continuing to help you refine your current products.
[content_box]Questions to ask: What features of this software encourage creativity? Does the software have an API for third party software integrations? Can I easily mock up new products?[/content_box]
This might be the most important factor that you have to consider. How are you going to comply with the myriad and often changing government regulations?
According to the nutrition labeling laws in the CFR, “The FDA RECOGNIZES and ACCEPTS the use of electronic ingredient databases to compute nutritional values for product labels.” When preparing nutrition labels, the FDA requests that manufacturers make a good-faith effort to provide accurate label data.
Should you find yourself enduring an FDA audit, it’s going to go much more easily for you if you have an accurate paper trail and can show the steps you took to comply.
Owning your software will allow for this. Plus, high-quality software companies will stay abreast of the changing regulations and will incorporate these changes automatically.
This is so much easier to accomplish if your software acts as a single “source of truth,” in which all of the data and the process with which you arrived at the is stored in one place.
[content_box]Questions to ask: Is there an audit feature that allows for tracking changes? Can I attach supporting documents? Does this software perform all of the steps I need?[/content_box]
COLLABORATION AND COMMUNICATION
High-quality software will let you collaborate with other departments – both in-house and remotely – with read/write access options. In addition, you should be able to use reports from your software to communicate with your management team and for use in professional presentations.
[content_box]Questions to ask: Can I restrict access and allow editing for specific departments? What reports are available?[/content_box]
Certainly, if you have one or two products, it’s going to be worthwhile for you to outsource analysis and label creation. But, when your product line grows, it’ll be more cost effective to bring the analysis in-house.
[content_box]Questions to ask: What is the value of the program? What support is available? How will the affect my bottom line? [/content_box]
Before investing in any software for your business, always make sure you have a look at the features in detail so you know it’s the right product to take your business forward.