Aarkstore Enterprise -The Future of Nutrition Labeling for Food and Drinks in Europe

The Future of Nutrition Labeling for Food and Drinks in Europe: Evolving consumer needs, manufacturer and retailer strategies and market opportunities

‘The Future of Front-of-Pack Nutritional Labeling in Food and Drinks’ report aims to dispel some of the myths, compound some of the confusion and clarify many of the complications surrounding the issue of point of purchase labeling in the food and drink market. Taking a global perspective, the report was written in the first half of 2010 during a time of economic turbulence, political changes and regulatory transformations around the world. It is therefore as forward focused as possible, while providing insight into current, emerging and evolving influential trends and market drivers. As one nutrition labeling expert told the author during the report research, there is “never a good time to write a report like this, as so much changes so fast”. However, there is significant demand for an independent report from within the food and drink industry that provides an overview into the nutrition labeling options being considered by the regulators and major players. This report contains analysis of the influence of mandatory and voluntary labeling regulations on new product development (NPD), marketing and branding strategies, alongside an outline of consumer, manufacturer, retailer and regulator perspectives.

Every year new products are launched that make health claims. The functional food and drinks market has been one of the biggest success stories in the past decade, providing much-needed double-digit growth in the industry. However, the market is experiencing a significant drop in the huge growth that has been typical over the past decade. It is becoming an increasingly difficult market for NPD and a risky investment if the correct marketing, branding and NPD strategies are not adopted that suit the individual markets being targeted. Unilever’s soy fruit juice, AdeZ, is a prime example of a functional failure. Unilever spent euro15.1m launching its first major UK brand in 12 years. It failed to even equal this investment, with euro10.7m in sales before being pulled 18 months later in April 2008.

The depth and differentiation in health claims is one of the primary reasons why regulators feel the need to step in and act. There are concerns that consumers are being confused, misled and even deliberately duped by some manufacturers who make wild, bold and unfounded claims about the health benefits of their products. The regulators are calling for products to make honest health claims that are supported by sufficient, credible scientific evidence. There are also calls for a more unified system of labeling which will make it easier for consumers to make a more informed decision about which food and drink they should buy – if they are indeed looking to make the healthier choice.

Front of pack labeling (FOP) is the primary focus for regulators and forms the main part of the discussion in this report. The objective of this report is to provide some clarity in the nutritional labeling debate and assist manufacturers in their quest to make the right (and least costly) decision for their brand portfolio for the long term.

Key features of this report

• This report considers the four primary groups within the food and drink industry that are both influencing – and being influenced – by existing, emerging and potential mandatory and voluntary nutrition labeling rules, regulations and policies. These are: consumers, manufacturers, retailers and foodservice.
• The major happenings in terms of mandatory and voluntary FOP labeling are examined. , The best-practice strategies that have already been implemented in countries such as Canada and Sweden (as well as the lessons they are learning and currently adapting to) are highlighted alongside the different schemes that are being considered by countries such as the UK and US, and preferred schemes in Ireland.
• The latest news from the European Nutrition & Health Claims Regulation is included in chapter 3, complemented by analysis of its impact on the 27 EU Member States and the rest of the world. This forms part of the regulatory audit and also includes a timeline 2008-2010 of EFSA opinions and workings, which puts the regulation and the intricacy of its development in perspective.
• Consumer research studies are analyzed in conjunction to get an appreciation for consumer interest, awareness, demands, usage and consumption habits in relation to nutrition labeling.
• A regulatory audit has been conducted to compare labeling schemes and considerations under proposal in a number of different countries around the world including the UK, US, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and Canada.
• Functional food and drink market value forecasts put the nutrition and health labeling issue in context. New product launches are considered alongside health claims such as bone health and gut health to assess the impact of the labeling debate on innovation.
• Top 10 claims in food and drink NPD in 2009 are analyzed from the perspective of which claims are most prevalent.

Key benefits from reading this report

• Understand the current debate surrounding nutrition labeling, health and nutrition claims, FOP versus BOP, voluntary versus mandatory regulation and everything in between!
– from a global perspective
– on a country/regional basis
• Help with your decision about whether to adopt a particular FOP nutrition labeling scheme now … or wait.

• The impact your decision regarding FOP nutrition labeling will have on market innovation, your company’s reputation and CSR, the food and drink industry, consumers, retailers and regulators.

• Understand which FOP nutrition labeling schemes are most likely to succeed, which are already being used and which are being deliberated.

• Assess the impact of voluntary industry-led action through analysis of current and previous schemes (such as GDAs in Ireland and the Smart Choice Program in the US: two very different stories with the first succeeding well and the latter being pulled by the US FDA).

Key findings of this report

Sweden’s Keyhole FOP labeling system is frequently cited as a best-practice example that has stood the test of time in the global debate. First established in Sweden in 1989, it became accepted as a Nordic label for healthier food and drink in Denmark, Sweden and Norway on June 17, 2009.

The US is the biggest functional food and drink market in the world by value. By 2012, it is estimated that it will reach US$ 36.7bn with strong annual growth forecast from 2007.

According to the European Consumers’ Association, BEUC, independent research shows that a system of color-coding on the front of packs of processed food packaging which concisely displays whether the key nutrients of fat, saturated fats, sugars and salt – are high, medium or low with red, amber and green ‘traffic lights’, is best understood by consumers.

Many consumers are brand loyal and will scrutinize the labels of new products to determine if trial is necessary, according to aTate & Lyle study.
According to the FDA, More than half (54 percent) of consumers in the United States often read the food label when buying a product for the first time, which is a 10 percent increase from 2002. These consumers are also increasingly aware of the link between diet and heart disease.

P41 A Dutch study concludes that consumers consider interventions consisting of a larger variety of available portion sizes, pricing strategies and serving-size labeling as most acceptable. Ultimately, the study shows that people want choice and if they want to have a large meal, they should be able to do so.

According to Healthy Dining, a US group of restaurant-industry nutrition specialists, the process of obtaining accurate nutrition information for a full menu can cost from US$ 5,000 to more than U$ 35,000 depending on the number of menu items, number of fried items, and the complexity of the menu.

P55 Across six product categories, 16.8 percent of shoppers looked for nutrition information on the label, with the nutrition grid (table or list), GDA labels and the ingredients list as the main sources consulted. Women have a higher probability of looking for nutrition information and lower social grades having a lower probability.

Key questions answered by this report

• What are the main FOP nutrition labeling schemes being considered around the world?
• When will EFSA conclude its current work on health claims and when will it all be finalised and enforced?
• Is FOP nutrition labeling an issue being debated outside of the UK and US?
• What are the benefits of FOP nutrition labels?
• What are the problems with FOP nutrition labels?
• Are there alternatives to FOP nutrition schemes?
• What should we be doing now ahead of mandatory regulation from Europe and/or our domestic market?

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