At A Glance

Noteworthy Characteristics

  • Provides comprehensive database of foods and their nutrient composition.
  • Provides high degree of specificity in describing foods, including methods of preparation and brand identification.
  • Contains high level of nutrient data completeness (uses information from a variety of sources and applies imputation procedures).
  • Includes a wide variety of specialized foods consumed common to specific racial/ethnic groups and subgroups.



To provide nutrient composition data for foods consumed in United States (U.S.).

Target Population

Foods and food variations, including brand products, consumed in the U.S.


Began in 1974. Updated annually.


The University of Minnesota Nutrition Coordinating Center.

Special Note(s)

The Food and Nutrient Database may be licensed for a range of applications, such as providing nutrient values for food frequency questionnaires, nutrition-related apps, and examining market trends in various food product categories.

University of Minnesota Nutrition Coordinating Center
+1-612.626.9450 (Tel)
+1-612.626.9444 (Fax)


Sample Design

Database, not a survey. USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory is the primary source of information for the nutrient values assigned to foods in the Food and Nutrient Database.

Sample Size

Database includes close to 18,000 foods, of which about 8,000 are brand-name products.

Special Note(s)

Because values for some nutrients and food components are not available from USDA and information is lacking for many brand name food products, additional resources are used. These resources include values from other food and nutrient databases and articles in scientific journals containing values for food products obtained using appropriate analytic methodologies. Missing nutrient values for foods are kept to a minimum by gathering food composition data from a variety of sources and imputing values following standardized procedures.

Key Variables


NameMethods of Assessment
Nutrients (166 nutrients, nutrient ratios, and other food components, such as, kilocalories, calcium, percent calories from fat, and cholesterol)N/A
Food groups (174 subgroups, such as citrus fruit, that fit within 9 major food categories, such as fruit)N/A

Special Note(s)

Learn more about the Food and Nutrient Database list of nutrients.

Data Access and Cost

Data Availability

A license must be obtained to use the NCC Food and Nutrient database. Learn more about obtaining this license. The license agreement is based on scope of use.


Price is based on scope of use.


Geocode Variable(s)

Not applicable.

Existing Linkages

Used in a number of major nutrition surveillance studies, such as the Hispanic Community Health Study/ Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL), Feeding Infant and Toddlers (FITS), and the Minnesota Heart Survey MHS)

Selected Publications

Click here for a full list of publications.


Holden JM, Eldridge A, Beecher GR, Buzzard IM, Bhagwat S, Davis CS, Douglass LW, Gebhardt S, Haytowitz D, Schakel S. Carotenoid content of U.S. foods: An update of the database. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis 1999;12(3):169-196.

Schakel S, Buzzard IM, Gebhardt S. Procedures for estimating nutrient values for food composition databases. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis 1997;10(2):102-114.

Schakel S, Harnack L, Wold C, Van Heel N, Himes J. Incorporation of trans-fatty acids into a comprehensive nutrient database. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, 1999;12(4):323-331.

Schakel S, Pettit J. Expansion of a nutrient database with the "new" vitamin E. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis 2004;17(3-4):371-378.

Schakel S, Schauer R, Himes J. Development of a glycemic index database for dietary assessment. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis 2008;21(Suppl):S50-S55

Schakel SF, Jasthi B, Van Heel N, Harnack L. Adjusting a nutrient database to improve calculation of percent calories from macronutrients. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis 2009;22(Suppl 1):S32-S36.

Schakel SF. Maintaining a nutrient database in a changing marketplace: keeping pace with changing food products-a research perspective. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, 14(3):315-322, 2001.