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Yet more burdensome regulation from the EU

31-Mar-2014 - From December 2014, under new EU labelling rules, allergens will have to be highlighted in the ingredients lists on food labels rather than in a separate box, which is common practice in the UK, but will no longer be permitted. For example, under the new regulations where cheese is an ingredient, this must be followed by the word ‘milk’, in bold.

Get ready for a ‘scary ride’ to retailer shelves

24-Mar-2014 - Morrisons’ appalling results and the associated announcement last month by the retailer’s boss Dalton Philips that he planned to sell off a large slice of its estate to raise funds towards the £1bn earmarked for price cuts sent shivers throughout the whole food supply chain.

Sustainable messages from the BNF

21-Mar-2014 - As the global population continues to rise, identifying means to feed current and future generations sustainably becomes ever more pressing.

Has 2 Sisters bitten off more than it can chew?

03-Mar-2014 - Ranjit Boparan’s 2 Sisters Food Group (2SFG) was voted one of the most admired food firms at the start of the year in a report from corporate reputation experts at Birmingham City University.

Obesity levels plateauing?

04-Feb-2014 - Stark global statistics greeted us in January. They indicated an explosion in overweight and obesity levels in the developing world, with prevalence almost quadrupling, especially in North Africa, the Middle East and Latin America, where obesity levels are now similar to those in Europe.

Government’s smart swaps aren't so smart

04-Feb-2014 - I was going to write about sugar being the new salt for the healthy diet campaigners. But I changed my mind when I looked at the government’s Change4Life so-called Smart Swaps online. What a muddle!

Letter to Editor: Why we have really made a mess of things in Britain?

04-Feb-2014 - Sir, I am writing about Paul Gander’s article (‘Make the FIR fly ’), published in Food Manufacture, October 2013, p47.

The power of three in Elliott’s interim report

06-Jan-2014 - Among the recommendations in the Elliott interim report on the horsemeat fiasco three stood out, not because they were necessarily the most important, but because they addressed issues that have long been matters of great concern to the industry. But it is a pity that it needed a report of this nature to provide an incentive for action.

Will the government admit it got it wrong?

06-Jan-2014 - Professor Chris Elliott’s interim findings of his inquiry into last January’s horsemeat contamination scandal were published last month.

Does fewer calories mean less nutrition?

06-Jan-2014 - The analysis by the Institute of Fiscal Studies reminds us of the long-term decline in calories purchased, falling by 15-30%, over the period 1980-2009, during which body weight has increased by 8.6kg and 7.9kg in men and women respectively. Clearly, ‘calories out’ in our increasingly sedentary lifestyles has a role to play in controlling obesity levels too. The analysis also revealed that squeezed budgets and substantial rises in food prices relative to other goods, during 2007-2012, has accelerated this trend.

Where's the evidence for reducing sat fats?

05-Dec-2013 - The Countess of Mar in the House of Lords received a written reply from Earl Howe (Department of Health) on November 18 2013 on the question of the scientific evidence upon which government had based its policy to encourage people to eat less saturated fat.

Price and provenance win the retailer race

02-Dec-2013 - Price – though very important – isn’t enough for the multiple retailers any more. In their quest for differentiation, other considerations, such as provenance, have become even more important.

Box-ticking and delays after horsemeat crisis

05-Nov-2013 - Eight months after the horsemeat scandal, ingredient firms are still struggling to come to terms with the consequences. No-one in the industry would argue that the world has not changed in terms of traceability, inspections, audits and accountability.

Be warned: sugar is the next battleground

05-Nov-2013 - The food industry should be warned. Sugar will be the next battleground after saturated fats. Some medical experts and lobbyists claim that high levels of sugar in processed food is a far more serious issue than sat fats.

Product innovators play it safe in recession

30-Sep-2013 - Innovation is the lifeblood of Britain’s food and drink industry. But, as we all know, many new products fail for a variety of reasons.

Demand is plentiful for sports nutrition firms

02-Sep-2013 - Functional food companies are always on the lookout for the new areas of consumer demand, lifestyle trends and gaps in the market. So it's a bonus for sports nutrition firms that there are experts out there who are only too happy to tell them what they are looking for. James Collins, head nutritionist at Arsenal Football Club and director of performance nutrition, says there needs to be greater collaboration between sports nutrition firms and those working at the higher end of professional sport.

Managing change

02-Sep-2013 - On-pack nutrition information has become reassuring to many, but changes are afoot that will require explanation. The new Food Information Regulation does not permit the use of children’s guideline daily amounts on kids’ ranges. The only option is to use the new Reference Intakes (RIs) for adults but this could mislead parents. The familiar allergen labelling boxes also have to go, with allergens highlighted in ingredients lists instead.

Do those in power really get our industry?

02-Sep-2013 - Does the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) really get the UK's food manufacturing industry?

Costly sledgehammer to crack an EC nut

02-Sep-2013 - The European Commission (EC) is calling for tenders for a study on mandatory origin labelling of milk, milk used as an ingredient and unprocessed meat other than beef, pig, poultry, sheep and goat meat. Presumably the latter is to cover game. What about insects, for which we are told there is a growing interest?

That's the way the FSA political ball bounces

29-Jul-2013 - Last month's Food Standards Agency (FSA) Board meeting marked the last one at which Lord (Jeff) Rooker would preside as its chairman. While his replacement has yet to be announced, views on Rooker's tenure as chairman have been mixed.

Caution and common sense in allergen labels

29-Jul-2013 - British Retail Consortium (BRC) guidance on allergen labelling contains an endorsement from the Food Standards Agency (FSA), applauding the BRC for its "efforts to achieve greater consistency in allergen labelling and interpretation of the new provisions". Whoever drafted the FSA statement could not have read the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) draft guide to compliance, due for final publication later this year, which it has already said will change very little from the draft.

Can new labels change consumer behaviour?

02-Jul-2013 - The government has at last published its hybrid front-of-pack (FoP) nutritional labelling scheme, to widespread applause from health campaigners, major retailers and some manufacturers - although not all - that have supported it.

Where there's a will there's always a way

02-Jul-2013 - Make no mistake about it, the fallout from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) health claims regime is still being keenly felt by functional food firms. The new system was nothing short of a culture shock and - even setting aside the wider arguments about whether it is the right science-based approach to regulating functional ingredients - there are plenty of individual battles still being waged.

Kids' nutrition is a no-brainer

02-Jul-2013 - From September 2014, lessons on food, cooking and nutrition are expected to become compulsory in English schools for five- to 14-year-olds.

Life is as complex as food labelling systems

02-Jul-2013 - As if there isn't already enough food labelling, a group of scientists is calling for the inclusion of the glycaemic index (GI) on food labels.

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