Front-of-pack etikettering in 2022
Front-of-pack (FOP) nutrition labelling usually comes in the form of an infographics that simplifies nutrition information provided on food labels. FOP labelling aims in helping consumers with their food choices.
Several schemes exist in the European market in accordance with the Food Information to Consumers Regulations (EU) 1169/2011 and the Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation (EC) 1924/2006. These include the Nutri-Score (used in France, Belgium, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands), the traffic light scheme (Ireland), the Keyhole logo (Sweden, Denmark) and the Choices Logo (Poland, Czech Republic).
Is there a mandatory front-of-pack scheme in Europe?
To date, FOP nutrition labelling remains voluntary. However, according to the action plan for the EU’s Farm to Fork Strategy, the European Commission will submit a proposal for a harmonized mandatory scheme, by the end of 2022. This is a step forward in providing consumers with easy-to-understand nutritional information of food products. However, given the existence of several types of front-of-pack nutrition labelling schemes (numerical, color-coded, graded, etc.), the European Commission will identify the preferred option or a policy mix.
Nutri-Score is one of the preferred options but some countries are opposed to this front-of-pack scheme arguing that it oversimplifies the nutritious value of certain products and unfairly penalizes some foods that are widely consumed as part of the Mediterranean diet.
Nevertheless, experts from many EU Member States argue that the co-existence of a range of FOP schemes in the EU market can lead to market fragmentation and consumer confusion. A harmonized EU-wide system therefore appears to be the right solution.
What consequences for food manufacturers?
The introduction of harmonized mandatory nutrition labelling on the front of packaging will have several consequences for the food industry, among which we find:
• The need to redesign food packaging, for all concerned food categories
• The reformulation of food products to improve the nutritional score without compromising taste
• The development of regulatory and technical knowledge
What benefits will the front-of-pack labelling bring to manufacturers?
By helping consumers make healthier dietary choices, front-of-pack labels could lead food manufacturers to improve the formulation and nutritional quality of existing products. If target consumers prefer products with higher nutritional scores, food companies will scale up innovation and development of healthy products. The adoption of a mandatory front-of-pack nutrition labelling scheme could therefore accelerate the transition to healthier products. It is also an effective way to demonstrate that a company has a strong commitment to the nutritional quality of the products it puts on the market.
At Mérieux NutriSciences we can help you with:
• The calculation of the front-of-pack nutrition labelling scheme and the nutritional analysis of your food products
• Sensory studies to determine the organoleptic aspects of reformulated products
• Shelf life studies of reformulated products
• Assessment on how to improve the score of products that obtain a lower score than desired.
• Consultancy from our experts on any questions you might have on the topic
• Open or in-company trainings tailored to your needs in the topic