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 €15.1m launching its first major UK brand in 12 years. It failed to even equal this investment, with €10.7m 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.
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