European Approved Health and Nutritional Claims

All this to define food.

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Two Regulations Just To Explain Food Claims Used On Product Labels

How much of a bigger share from the Universe Of Food could we get if we talked more about the benefits of what it is we’re trying to regulate.

The most direct path to an intended outcome is to regulate for what you want. Seems like we have too many competing interests to agree on a simple, true story.

Food has been pretty cool for a long time now. We’re starting to realize just how important it really is. If they’re going through this much trouble in Europe, no wonder, clean, simple food is catching on and the packaged goods market is scrambling to keep up.

Thanks to  Richard A.H.G. De Klerk International Senior Account Manager, Nutrition/Pharma, Asia & Europe for this report.

European Commission published two regulations just to explain and determine approved claims to be used in food products labels, and one regulation regarding the consumer protection and detailed information about the label content. The regulations are better described below:

This isn’t meant to put anyone to sleep.It’s a sign that food and nutrition are becoming so important that multiple interests are keenly aware of how much power consumers are beginning to exert when it comes to food choices. An educated consumer is a healthy consumer. We don’t need a tracker to know where that  leads.

Didn’t Amazon just buy Whole Foods?

1. Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods:

Nutritional Claim Conditions Applying

LOW ENERGY A claim that a food is low in energy, and any claim likely to have the same meaning for the consumer, may only be made where the product does not contain more than 40 kcal (170 kJ)/100 g for solids or more than 20 kcal (80 kJ)/100 ml for liquids. For table-top sweeteners the limit of 4 kcal (17 kJ)/portion, with equivalent sweetening properties to 6 g of sucrose (approximately one teaspoon of sucrose), applies.

ENERGY-REDUCED A claim that a food is energy-reduced, and any claim likely to have the same meaning for the consumer, may only be made where the energy value is reduced by at least 30 %, with an indication of the characteristic(s) which make(s) the food reduced in its total energy value.

ENERGY-FREE A claim that a food is energy-free, and any claim likely to have the same meaning for the consumer, may only be made where the product does not contain more than 4 kcal (17 kJ)/100 ml. For table-top sweeteners the limit of 0,4 kcal (1,7 kJ)/portion, with equivalent sweetening properties to 6 g of sucrose (approximately one teaspoon of sucrose), applies.

SOURCE OF (NAME OF VITAMIN/S) AND/OR (NAME OF MINERAL/S) A claim that a food is a source of vitamins and/or minerals, and any claim likely to have the same meaning for the consumer, may only be made where the product contains at least a significant amount as defined in the Annex to Directive 90/496/EEC or an amount provided for by derogations granted according to Article 7 of Regulation (EC) No 1925/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on the addition of vitamins and minerals and of certain other substances to foods (1).

HIGH (NAME OF VITAMIN/S) AND/OR (NAME OF MINERAL/S) A claim that a food is high in vitamins and/or minerals, and any claim likely to have the same meaning for the consumer, may only be made where the product contains at least twice the value of ‘source of (NAME OF VITAMIN/S) and/or (NAME OF MINERAL/S)’.

CONTAINS (NAME OF THE NUTRIENT OR OTHER SUBSTANCE) A claim that a food contains a nutrient or another substance, for which specific conditions are not laid down in this Regulation, or any claim likely to have the same meaning for the consumer, may only be made where the product complies with all the applicable provisions of this Regulation, and in particular Article 5. For vitamins and minerals the conditions of the claim ‘source of’ shall apply.

INCREASED (NAME OF THE NUTRIENT) A claim stating that the content in one or more nutrients, other than vitamins and minerals, has been increased, and any claim likely to have the same meaning for the consumer, may only be made where the product meets the conditions for the claim ‘source of’ and the increase in content is at least 30 % compared to a similar product.

REDUCED (NAME OF THE NUTRIENT) A claim stating that the content in one or more nutrients has been reduced, and any claim likely to have the same meaning for the consumer, may only be made where the reduction in content is at least 30 % compared to a similar product, except for micronutrients where a 10 % difference in the reference values as set in Council Directive 90/496/EEC shall be acceptable and for sodium, or the equivalent value for salt, where a 25 % difference shall be acceptable.

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Clean Label Segments

Tart Cherry Juice Lowers Blood Pressure
Tart Cherry Juice Lowers Blood Pressure

The abundance of package claims and ingredient complexities across the FMCG landscape puts a burden on consumers.

 

Not only do they need to decipher and decode, they also need to determine which claims are most relevant to their needs.

 

For many, the approach is simple: Buy from companies that are more transparent and clear in their claims and labels.

The bottom line is that transparency and clean label are not point-in-time fads.

Transparency Is Winning In The U.S. Retail Market

It looks like big food and big ag has gotten so big and so complicated, that consumers are having a hard time figuring out if their purchasing criteria are a match for their values.

Consumers are paying more attention to what they buy—and that goes for foods, beverages and non-food categories like personal care, vitamins and supplements.

They’re paying so much attention that our entire processed food system  is under consumer review. Local food, farm to fork, sustainable practices and social equity are all becoming part of the buying process for American consumers.

The Rise Of Clean Label & Sustainable Products

The natural products industry has long been in the lead when it comes to developing clean labels and good manufacturing processes. That’s because their customers always expected as much.

The mainstream packaged goods companies have been quite late to this opportunity. Their approach has been to green wash their products, announce a reformulation, sell themselves to a larger conglomerate or acquire a natural product company.

Despite the growing use of the term “clean” to describe products across the fast moving consumer goods space, there is no universally accepted definition for what constitutes a clean product. Just like “natural”.

However, in order to provide some analytical rigor to this term and to understand how sales have shifted toward cleaner products, our friends at Nielsen and Label Insight have created a progressive definition of clean label, shown in the chart at left.  Thanks a bunch guys. You can’t tell the players without a scorecard.

Looks Like We’re Not In Kansas Anymore, Toto

We live in a world with unending information. Given the state of information flooding the world we now live in, success for packaged goods manufacturers will depend on clear communication with consumers and a focus on what matters to them.

The number one thing above all others is not to have those products harm the planet or injure the consumer. That’s a very tall order and it’s causing all the disruption we’re seeing in the food space.

Clean label is a spectrum, and companies need to know where the shifts are happening. The bottom line is that transparency and clean label are not point-in-time fads.

They have gone mainstream and competition for consumers seeking clarity, purity and responsibility is only going to increase. The cleaner the better. From a consumer-centric view, that’s what playing the “Is It Healthy?” game looks like.

A Movement Of Movements

A ‘Movement of Movements’

Along with campaigns against fracking and climate change, perhaps the largest and most dynamic grassroots movement in North America today is the anti-genetic engineering, Millions Against Monsanto food movement.

International in scope, the food movement has galvanized around the backlash against GMOs (genetically modified organisms). Yet there’s something much larger at work. It’s bigger than GMOs. And it’s bigger than food.

People are connecting the dots. Between industry’s corruption of our food and farming systems, and corporations’ attacks on our state and local rights. Between secretly negotiated international trade agreements, and corrupt federal government officials.

Between Democracy and Corporatocracy.

The growing strength of this “Movement of Movements” provides hope in desperate times that we can rise to the occasion and continue to win over the hearts and minds of the majority. So that we can address not only the crucial issues of food and farming and public health, but also related life-or-death issues such as climate change, economic justice and militarism.

ACTION ALERT

It’s Official

The news was already out there, in the form of small leaks. But yesterday, February 6, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) made it official. The multi-billion lobbying group, representing junk food manufacturers, pesticide companies and Big Pharma, will pursue a “voluntary” federal GMO labeling bill, one that would preempt states’ rights to enact their own GMO labeling laws.

The GMA has formed a coalition – that’s its logo to the right, with a burger front and center – of 28 other industry groups that will push Congress to pass a law requiring the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to “reaffirm” its “role as the nation’s foremost authority on the use and labeling of foods containing genetically modified ingredients [GMOs].”

What does that mean? Companies that pollute your environment and poison your food want the FDA to come up with a worthless, voluntary labeling standard. And oh by the way, they also want the FDA to rule that it’s perfectly fine to label GMO-contaminated food as “natural.”

Now all this new coalition, deceptively named the Coalition for Safe and Affordable Food, needs are a few legislators to sponsor their new bill. We can’t wait to find out who those legislators will be—the ones who are willing to sponsor a bill that more than 90 percent of Americans will oppose.

In the meantime, let’s keep hammering the FDA.

More here and here

TAKE ACTION: Tell the FDA: No Watered-Down, Voluntary Federal GMO Labeling Rules!

Read the GMA’s GMO talking points

A New Standard For Whole Grain

The most comprehensive definition of whole grain termed to date has been published this week in the journal Food and Nutrition Research. The effort to create the definition, which is intended to assist in the production and labeling of foods rich in whole grains, was born of the HEALTHGRAIN EU project, the largest project ever focusing on cereals and health; and was led by a multi-disciplinary team from some of Europe’s leading universities and food research institutes.

Great GrainsHistorically, there’s been no complete, legally endorsed definition of whole grain flour and products,” explains Jan-Willem van der Kamp, corresponding author of the paper and Senior Officer of International Projects at TNO Food and Nutrition. “Most supermarkets today are stocked with foods that originate from many different countries. When you read ‘25% whole grain flour’ on one product label; the same claim on a different label could mean something quite different nutritionally. If use of this definition is adopted broadly, this inconsistency eventually would cease.”

The HEALTHGRAIN definition is the next step in reaching a precise, common understanding of what constitutes whole grain in food products – from breads to pasta to breakfast cereals – regardless of where they originate, adds van der Kamp.

Almost universally, the term whole grain indicates inclusion of all three components of the cereal grain kernel – endosperm (this is the largest part of the grain and provides mostly starch), germ (comprises only a small part of the grain; this is where sprouting begins) and bran (the grain’s protective outer layer; it is rich in dietary fibre). Variances, however, arise around the particular grains considered “whole”, precise combination of the three components once processed, and processing practices which can affect the resulting flour’s nutritional value. The HEALTHGRAIN definition addresses all three of these issues detailing a permitted list of grains and “pseudo grains” (such as quinoa and amaranth) and processing guidelines that take into account current milling practices.

The need for developing a more comprehensive, detailed whole grain definition was identified during the course of the HEALTHGRAIN EU project, an initiative intended to increase the use of whole grains and their health protecting constituents in food products for improved nutrition and health benefits. The expansive project has involved everything from research to better understand specific health benefits of whole grains to exploration of new ways to get products high in their healthy compounds onto the market.

The HEALTHGRAIN definition was developed by a committee led by van der Kamp, representatives of the Swedish Nutrition Foundation; DPR Nutrition Ltd., UK; and VTT and University of Eastern Finland; in cooperation with a multidisciplinary group of nutrition scientists, cereal scientists and technologists, plant breeders, flour milling specialists and experts in regulatory affairs from throughout Europe.

The article with the complete HEALTHGRAIN definition, including the permitted grains, can be accessed in the current volume of Food and Nutrition Research (http://www.foodandnutritionresearch.net/index.php/fnr/article/view/22100).

http://co-action.net/news/HEALTHGRAIN_definition_4Feb.pdf

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