Why The Same Product Gets Different Grades on Fooducate

Fooducate Grades

If you are a regular user of the Fooducate app, you may have noticed that some products appear multiple times in our database. This is due to the fact that food companies manufacture multiple package sizes, and each package has a different UPC (barcode). Sometimes Fooducate will grade two identical products with a different nutrition score. There are several reasons why this can happen:

The most common reason is that the product serving size is different. A 32 fl. oz. bottle of juice, for example, will have a serving size of 1 cup or 8 fl. oz. However, that same juice, sold in an individual portion bottle, will have a 12 fl. oz. serving. Fooducate calculates a product’s nutrition grade based on information per serving. A larger serving may have more sugar and calories, and thus a slightly lower grade than the smaller serving.

Some people have suggested that we grade and compare products based on a standardized portion. That’s how European nutrition labels work – information is always per 100 grams / milliliters. But people don’t eat or drink this way. A single portion drink will be consumed in its entirety, not just once cup.

On occasions, the products are slightly different, for example one is “lightly salted” and the other is not. The differences are sometimes very difficult to notice.

Another reason for varying grades is that the manufacturer has updated the product and has two version out in the market at the same time. Food companies continually change ingredients (and thus nutrients), often without any PR. Sometimes the packaging changes as well, and a new UPC (barcode) is used.

Some food companies have several manufacturing facilities, each outputting a product with slight variations in ingredients based on regional supply. The resulting products are different and may grade differently as well.

Sometimes you will see a product rated and remember that last week it had a different grade. This can happen if you changed your personalized settings. For example, choosing a low-carb profile will slightly lower the grades of products that are high in carbs.

Lastly, the same product may have varying grades due to errors in our database. We have a pretty strict quality assurance process in place, but mistakes do happen. Feel free to let us know and we’ll rectify as soon as possible.

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  • Utopia

    Thank you for explaining the grading. I hope this stops the incessant daily postings of “Why did this get a…grade.” It would be great if there was more dialogue between users about the food product itself (use, recipes, taste, where to buy etc) rather than it’s assigned grade.

  • Steven Hong

    I found a case where the same product in different sizes can have added ingredients. For example, Holy Land Original Hummus in the 8-oz size DOES NOT contain potassium sorbate, while Holy Land Original Hummus in the 38-oz size DOES contains potassium sorbate.

  • Antoinette Champeau

    Thanks for the clarification.

  • timlockk

    So a company will change a label and not tell anyone or increase the price? I thought the main reason they didn’t want to label gmo’s is because it was too costly and would drive up the costs for consumers…