Food information refers to the analysis of foods and related data in order to provide information about the nutrient content and composition. This type of data is used in a variety of situations, including making food choices, determining dietary needs, improving food supplies, improving agricultural production and marketing, evaluating food costs and analyzing market trends. The US department of agriculture (USDA) and the United States Department of Health and Human Services are two of the bodies that compile food information. The USDA is responsible for maintaining a national database on food sources and composition, while the DHHS updates and disseminates it on a regular basis.
Food is any material prepared from living things to provide nutrition to the organisms. Food is generally of animal, plant or fungi origin, and has important nutrients, including proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals or micro-nutrients, which are key to life. Today, there are too many different types of foods that we have become highly specialized on the type of food we eat. Foods are categorized on the basis of how they are processed, what kind of nutrients they contain and whether or not they are free of allergens. For example, dairy products and eggs are categories apart because dairy products contain casein and eggs contain cholesterol, a substance that is considered a food allergen. Other categories under scrutiny in food label reading include: fresh/homogenized, frozen, canned, dehydrated, reconstituted, smoked, pickled, frozen raw, dried, and other (mostly processed) ingredients.
The food information available today is quite comprehensive and valuable for many different reasons. For example, it allows consumers to make informed decisions about the food they want to buy or consume. In addition, it can also be used by manufacturers to make improved products that will meet the demands of consumers, while still maintaining quality and flavor. The food industry, both large and small, benefits greatly from well-maintained food information databases.