The Norwegian Food Composition Table:

About the food groups

The food items in the Norwegian Food Composition Table are organized into eleven groups according to origin and use. In this text is a general description of how the table values are determined in some of the food groups is given.

Milk and milk products

Most types of milk and milk products have Norwegian analytical values delivered by the dairy industry from 2015 and onward. The composition of fatty acids and the content of fat-soluble vitamins in milk fat are determined based on analyed values. Then composition and content of fat soluble vitamins in different milk products are calculated based on the amount of milk fat in the product.

All table values for milk and milk products represent annual averages. The content of vitamin A in whole milk for instance, can vary up to 30 % during a year. The content of iodine also varies with season.

Extra low-fat milk and some types of flavoured milk are enriched with vitamin D that the amount is 0.4 µg vitamin D per 100 g.

Cheeses are classified according to their fat content in the table: extra fat cheeses contain more than 30 % fat, full fat cheeses have 20-30 % fat, reduced fat cheeses have 10-20 % fat and low fat cheeses contain less than 10 % fat.

Whey spread (prim), a product intended for children, is enriched with iron.

Table values for unspecified milk, white cheese and whey cheese are estimated based on market shares of the most frequently sold types in each category.

Poultry and meat

Most of the table values for raw meat of cattle and sheep and some meat products are based on Norwegian analytical data conducted in 1995 and 2009-10. The table values for poultry come from Norwegian analytical data from 2017 (1). The values for pork are based on analytical data from 2009 (2).

Fresh and frozen meat have similar nutrient content. The table values for fresh meat therefore can be used for frozen meat.

As most of the fat from chicken and other types of poultry is found in or just under the skin, the nutritional values with and without skin are presented for these products.

Fish and shellfish

Most table values for raw fish and fish products are based on Norwegian analytical data or borrowed from other food composition tables.

The fat in fatty fish is distributed in the flesh of the fish and under the skin, while in lean fish it is stored in the liver. The content of fat and fatty acids varies a lot with season in fatty fish. In farmed fish, the type and amount of fat, and the content of fat-soluble vitamins and trace elements depend on the composition of the fish feed.

The distinction between fatty and lean raw fish is set at 5 g per 100 g fish, similar to the report Comprehensive Analysis of Fish from the Scientific Committee for Food Safety (3). The most common fatty fishes are salmon, trout, Atlantic halibut, mackerel, herring and eel, while cod, coalfish, plaice, wolf fish, whitefish and scorpaenids are examples of lean fish. Fish that contain between 2 and 8 g fat are called semi lean fish.

Cereals

The nutrient content of various types of grain is quite similar. The nutrient content depends on the proportion of the grain included in the flour.. Wholemeal flour is ground from the entire grain and has a higher content of dietary fiber, vitamins and mineral elements than sieved flour. Finely and coarsely ground flour have the same nutrient content. Sieved wheat flour contains about 80 % of the wheat grain, while flour for fine baked goods only contains about 65 %. In sieved rye, 70-75 % of the rye grain is used.

Due to low levels of selenium in the Scandinavian soil, grain grown in Scandinavia has a low content of this trace element. Thus, imported grain might have a higher content of selenium. The flour that is sold in Norway is usually a mix of Norwegian and imported grains. The ratio of Norwegian to imported grain and the import country can vary a lot from year to year. The table values for selenium in wheat flour and rye flour for household use are based on Norwegian analytical data from 1997.

Bread and baked goods

The nutrient content of bread and baked goods depends on how much wholemeal flour, whole grains, bran, seeds etc. is used in the product. Home-made breads are calculated with a varying amount of wholemeal flour, and with either water or skimmed milk as liquid. The amount of wholemeal flour in industrially baked breads is not always declared. The following classification system was launched in 2006 by the Federation of Norwegian Food and Drink Industry in cooperation with Federation of Norwegian Bakers, Masterbakers and Confectioners.

Type of breadWholemeal flour %
Wholemeal, extra fibre76 - 100
Wholemeal51 - 75
Semi wholemeal26 - 50
White0 - 25

Potatoes, vegetables, fruit and berries

Most of the table values for potatoes, vegetables, fruit and berries from Norway are based onNorwegian analytical projects. Imported fruit and vegetables mainly have borrowed values from other food composition tables.

Special types of vegetables are usually used for industrial frozen vegetables. Possible differences between the table values for fresh and frozen vegetables can therefore not be interpreted as being a result of the freezing process.

The nutrient content in jams is calculated based on recipes consisting of 50 % strawberries, 25% raspberries and 25 % blueberries, and with various amounts of added sugar. Standard losses of vitamins are included in the calculations.

Margarine, butter, cooking oil etc

Margarine, butter and butter mixed with oil are enriched with vitamin A and D.

In addition to the amount of vitamin E that is naturally available in the oils used in the production of margarine, some extra vitamin E is added to prevent rancidity. Vitamin E is also added to cod liver oil (tran).

Baby foods

The baby porridges have values both for powder and ready-to-eat porridge.

In the calculation of ready-to-eat baby porridges, a standard recipe of 1 dl water and 30 g powder is used. Two of the porridges are based on other recipes, because they need more added water.

Prepared food items and dishes

Most of the table values refer to raw foods or industrial products bought in grocery stores, i.e. without heating or other preparation. Recipes from either a standard cookbook (4) or from the most popular online recipes are used. Household measurements used in the recipes are converted to net weight in grams using information on edible content in the food composition table, and in the food items' unit weight in the booklet Mål, vekt og porsjonsstørrelser for matvarer (5). Package information was used to calculate the nutrient content of powder-based soups, sauces, casserole bases etc.

Types of fat, milk and cheese used in the recipes

When calculating table values for prepared dishes, three mixes of unspecified fat have been used: A mix containing vegetable oils, a mix containing different types of cooking fat, and a mix containing butter and margarine. The composition of the mixes is based on data from Norkost 3 (Norwegian national dietary survey) on what types of fat and how much fat used in the Norwegian diet.

Loss of vitamins and minerals

Many vitamins are sensitive to heat, light and air. The vitamin content of foods will vary according to how they have been stored and prepared. Moreover, some of the water-soluble vitamins can leak out into boiling water or gravy, and will be lost if this is not eaten.

Weight change

When rice, pasta, dried peas and beans are cooked, the concentration of nutrients in the raw food will be lower for 100 g cooked food compared to 100 g dry food because the food absorbs water under preparation. Meat, fish and eggs that are boiled, baked, roasted or fried result in an increased concentration of nutrients per 100 g prepared foods compared to 100 g of the uncooked food. This is due to loss of water during heat treatment. The amount of water that is absorbed or lost is calculated according to standard factors, see page 54 in "Weight, measures and portion sizes for food" (5).

References:

  1. Norwegian Food Safety Authority. Nutrient analysis 2016-2017. Egg and chicken. Published report (2017): "Analyse av egg og kylling. Næringsstoff- og miljøgiftanalyser".
  2. Opplysningskontoret for egg og kjøtt. Analyser av svinekjøtt 2009. Oslo, 2010.
  3. 3. Alexander J, Frøyland L, Hemre G-I et al. Et helhetssyn på fisk og annen sjømat i norsk kosthold. Vitenskapskomiteen for mattrygghet. Oslo, 2012.
  4. 4. Hovig IE (red). Den nye rutete kokeboken. 3. utgave. Gyldendal Norsk Forlag. Oslo, 1996.
  5. 5. Norwegian Food Safety Authority, Norwegian Directorate of Health, University of Oslo. Weight, measures, and portion sizes for food”, 2015.