Jam maker wins legal battle over labelling

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Law Defra

In a jam: Clippy's can now call its apple spread a jam
In a jam: Clippy's can now call its apple spread a jam
A Cheshire jam manufacturer is claiming victory after the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) announced plans to launch a consultation on changing labelling rules.

Cheshire-based Clippy's had been left in 'no-man's land' after local Trading Standards officials said it could not call its apple spread a jam because it did not contain the required 60% sugar content, as stipulated by the EU.

Also, because Clippy's doesn't use sweeteners, its sugar content is too high to be labelled a reduced-sugar jam. It also doesn't qualify to be classed as a fruit spread, so the company plumped for 'conserve', but that was also fraught with danger because it's a catch-all term that legally requires more detail on the label.

Fraught with danger

Now, Clippy's founder Clippy McKenna and md Paul Gorman are celebrating after DEFRA issued a notice to amend the Jam and Similar Products (England) Regulations 2003.

"DEFRA has agreed to consult on changing the jam laws so our British-apple based products with low sugar levels can be called jams,"​ said McKenna.

Gorman said the firm had really battled to make DEFRA take notice.

"It took us a year just to get a meeting with them, even with the support of our MP and MEP. Thankfully, we now seem to be getting some good vibes so hopefully this daft legislation can be amended."

Refining jam

DEFRA has confirmed it will consult on redefining 'jam' to mean a product containing 50% sugar, or 55% with an exception for Bramley apple jams, by the end of the year.

Either way, it will mean that the 600,000 jars of Clippy's apple spread that are produced each year and sold by Tesco, Morrisons and Ocado, among others, can be labelled as jam, although it could take 18 months to go through the consultation stages.

A DEFRA spokeswoman said officials had met with various industry members who wanted to see if it was possible to reduce the required sugar amount in jam, especially as there were reports of other countries in Europe having permitted lower amounts.

She added: "This government wants to free-up firms from a range of unnecessary burdens, which is why we're going to change the rules on sugar content in jams."

Gorman added: "From our point of view, we're a very small company and we've had to spend a lot of time and effort fighting this battle, time that could have been better spent developing the business."

For more information on the consultation, click here​.


Related news

Show more

Related suppliers

Follow us

Featured Jobs

View more


Food Manufacture Podcast

Listen to the Food Manufacture podcast