I've been doing some research on some food products that I sometimes buy and I've noticed that the nutritional information is different on the U.S and Canadian websites. For example, I've noticed that all Kashi products seem to have less calories in the U.S while the serving sizes and everything are still the same. I was wondering if anyone else noticed this or knows why the same products are labeled differently. I've noticed this for quite a few products now so if anyone knows the reason that would be great! :D
This is true between US and Norway as well. The food is often manufactured somewhat locally (following local preferences and food laws), despite being under 1 major label. Candy here for example usually has less sugar than in the US, but sometimes more fat. Sometimes laws regarding additives mean that the food has to be made in a different way. Also, labeling is more strict here.. Splenda has to be marked with its actual calories per 100g, rather than being called "no calorie" like in the US.. but labels don't have to list nearly as much information. Could be something similar for Canada?
The US does not count fiber calories on most things -- so counts will vary according to the amount of fiber involved.
If an item has less than 5 cal per serving, it may be listed as 0 calories in the US, if there is less than a certain percentage/grams of a specific macro, then it is not required to be listed on the label.
The US is becoming more strict; however, requiring Calcium, Iron, Vitamin C and Vitamin A on their labels (unless the item is a single ingredient and "natural" (fresh fruit, fresh veg labels)). Soon they may require potassium and whatever the vitamin du jour is...
generally speaking, they are the same product
Generally, this is incorrect. I work in the food industry. The formulations US to Canada can be VERY VERY different. Canada has much stricter laws on food in general so there are lots of things (additives) used in the US that cannot be used here. I have worked in 3 different sectors of the food industry and this was true in 2 of them; in the 3rd sector we did not export anything so I don't actually know.
However... the nutrition panel rules are also very different. For example, in Canada for your vitamins I believe the only allowable %s are 2, 4, 8, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100. And there are crazy rounding rules too. So if it says 2% what it could mean is somewhere from 1.5-3% in theory. Likewise there are some rounding rules on calories, which I think is the big differences I find in foods like cereals.
So my rule is that I use what is on the Canadian nutritional facts for everything because I don't know how different it is to the US.
The basic differences I see generally are: more salt, sugar and fat in US products, more additives, additives not legal in Canada in US products.