Food Weights and Measures: 5 Things to Know

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Cooking is not just an art, but a science that requires exact measurements and weights. If you’re new to this foray, you can’t just wing it or fake it till you make it because your food will turn out bad. Chefs and culinary specialists have studied this with a great passion, so not using any food weights and measures is fine. They can use the art of estimation, and their food will still be excellent.  

At home, you can learn by experimenting until you achieve the taste you desire, but generally, weights and measurements cannot just be estimated because there’s too much on the line. Trial and error will only result in wasted resources and ingredients. Some ingredients can also be harmful when used in excessive amounts, or when they are mixed with others disproportionately.

Institutional food manufacturers ensure that their product’s weight is accurate because it is mandated by law and their profitability is also dependent on this factor.  Food weights and measurements are critical in food manufacturing, and here are some of the most important things you need to know about them:

Accurate Measurements Is Required For Safety 

Accurate measurement of ingredients is imperative since any unnecessary errors can result in various health risks. Certain food products have salt and preservatives to prolong their shelf life. Any measurement exceeding the requirement may result in health concerns for anyone consuming them and possibly a lawsuit for gross negligence and misrepresentation against the company. 

Industrial Food Companies Use Sophisticated Equipment To Ensure Accuracy 

The clamor for the food industry to keep up with consumer demands gave rise to sophisticated equipment that would speed up food production. Today, high-tech checkweigher machines are utilized to speed up production so food products can be on the shelves fast for consumption.  

This machine will not only weigh the product but will perform other functions to ensure quality, safety, accuracy, and compliance with laws and regulations. Here are some of the things it can do: 

  • Check for missing components, such as labels or instructions 
  • Detect foreign objects in the batch  
  • Inspect the size, shape, and color of the food 

Most equipment in the food industry is integrated with other types of technology like x-rays and sorters to keep the production line efficient. This way, all food products that reach consumers’ tables will be consistent and look the same. 

Gross Weight vs. Net Weight 

Gross weight is the total weight of the product, including the packaging. Meanwhile, the net weight is the raw product’s weight, which doesn’t include the weight of its packaging. In measuring products, it’s essential also to determine the tare weight.


Tare weight is the weight of the packaging itself. It’s important to know the difference, especially if you want to get exact measurements from the food or ingredient you’re using. 

Consumer Trust 

In the food industry, accuracy in measurements is vital because most recipes usually call for the container instead of the metric measurement, so homemakers can easily follow. For example, a recipe sometimes calls for one can of condensed milk; it will not explicitly say 395 grams which is the typical size of a small can of condensed milk.  

Another example would be recipes that indicates half a butter stick. Although, in essence, that’s 113.5 grams, bakers don’t need to weigh it anymore, instead cut the butter in half because one stick of butter is the whole bar of 227-gram butter. This practice stems from consumers’ trust in food companies that live up to their promise of only releasing products with accurate measurements.  

Ensures Profitability 

The rising cost of food due to inflation is a worldwide phenomenon. Many people, including big businesses, have been trying to stretch resources to remain profitable. And sadly, many companies that cannot keep up have permanently closed their doors. 

Accurate measurements in food ensure profitability. If this is not followed, there will be a lot of waste, and bankruptcy can occur. Even on a small scale, like in cafes and restaurants, every ingredient is computed up to the last gram. This way, you know you’re also giving what the customer paid for.  


Every food you buy in the grocery undergoes an inspection and checking process so you can only have the best product possible. Food companies have invested in modern technology to adhere to rules and regulations concerning food weight and nutrition.  

But having these modern tools in place doesn’t mean errors will not exist. You still need to check the labels carefully, especially if you’re trying out new brands.

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