We developed, evaluated, and deployed computer software that uses mathematical optimization rather than trial-and-error methods to estimate the nutrient content of commercial food products. Linear programming (LP) and quadratic programming (QP) optimization methods were evaluated by comparing nutrient values estimated for 31 commercial products with known values for these nutrients. The optimization software was able to estimate nutrient values four times faster than conventional methods with the same degree of accuracy, although the QP method was slightly slower than LP. Nutritionists found the software easy to learn and use. The Nutrition Coordinating Center at the University of Minnesota now uses the LP version of the software as a decision support tool to maintain a food composition database.