The 2018 edition of the Global Update on Nutrition Labelling, published by the European Food Information Council (EUFIC), highlighted a growing trend towards mandatory nutrition labelling on food products.
According to the report, the EU, China, Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia have all adopted measures to make nutrition labelling mandatory having previously had voluntary schemes.
Citing the EU example, it believes that government backing is needed to support a scheme’s credibility, although it did raise questions over how these types of schemes might impact international trade.
The report also highlighted the various different initiatives in place and the lack of standardisation in the area. The authors of the report did not foresee any resolution to this situation any time soon.
“The debate over which nutrition labelling scheme is the most effective is likely to continue for the foreseeable future,” it said. “More research, particularly if based on actual use of nutrition labels by consumers, would be valuable in informing these discussions.
Measuring the impact
“Governments, NGOs, food manufacturers and retailers have all explored which scheme consumers might prefer, for what reasons and how certain schemes impact purchasing behaviour and balanced choices.
“While some evidence has emerged on several of these issues, there remains no consensus among stakeholders on the way forward.”
It identified that there was a “global proliferation of nutrition labelling initiatives, both public and private, underway” and that any policy decisions made should be based on science and how the consumption of the product affected diet.