FoodDrinkEurope welcomes new EU nutrition labelling rule

By Matt Atherton contact

- Last updated on GMT

Nutrition labelling of prepacked foods is mandatory from December 13
Nutrition labelling of prepacked foods is mandatory from December 13
New mandatory nutrition labelling rules of prepacked food have been welcomed by FoodDrinkEurope, after they came into effect this week (December 13), under the EU’s Food Information to Consumers Regulation (FIR).

Information on energy content and key nutrients – fat, saturates, carbohydrates, sugars, protein and salt – would now be visible on packaging. The new regulation would help shoppers to make healthier choices, FoodDrinkEurope said.

“This comprehensive nutritional information will empower consumers to compare products and make food choices that better fit their individual dietary needs,”​ it said in a statement.

“Europe’s food and drink sector has been working hard over the past years to get ready for the implementation of the new rules in due time, and remains committed to providing clear, accurate and valuable food information to consumers to enable them to make informed choices about their foods.”

Food producers must now be fully compliant with the EU Food Labelling Regulation 1169/2011.

However, labelling experts feared that many small companies in particular, by accident or design, were likely to be in contravention of the new rules.

In contravention of the new rules

Concerns were raised by Mike Peters, strategy consultant for Nutrition Information Solutions at the Institute of Food Research in Norwich, about some small companies using cheap “do-it yourself”​ software to comply with the new rules.

However, NiceLabel, a developer of label and marking productivity software, developed a free, simple software system, which it claimed was specifically designed to help food suppliers achieve compliance with the new regulation.

It was also said to involve minimum effort and few changes to companies’ existing procedures.

The “out-of-the-box-solution” ​from NiceLabel enabled users to start printing compliant allergen and nutrition labels in minutes, it claimed.

It included a predesigned label template, a printing approach pre-configured for the streamlined printing of allergens and nutrition labels, and a database management form for the management of all product data.

NiceLabel’s approach allowed authorised staff to manage data in a simple interface without them needing to invest in complex database solutions, it said.

‘Under a lot of scrutiny’

“Food producers are under a lot of scrutiny because of some past incidents,”​ said NiceLabel vice president for marketing Ken Moir.

 “The regulatory requirements keep changing and they will continue to do so in the future. This is challenging, particularly for small companies that do not employ compliance departments and IT staff that can tackle these challenges.

“We created a solution that even companies with no IT resources can use to be compliant easily.”

The NiceLabel nutrition facts labelling system could be used without a software licence for 30 days. Even after the trial period, there is no charge for the nutrition facts table component of the software, said the company.

To help food manufacturers achieve compliance easily, NiceLabel created a free e-book ‘Guide to the EU Nutrition Labels’ for the on-demand printing of EU food labels. The e-book explains the four steps companies must complete to become compliant.

New EU labelling regulation – at a glance

  • Nutrient information must be visible on prepacked foods
  • Rule would help shoppers’ dietary needs
  • FoodDrinkEurope welcomed decision

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