European Approved Health and Nutritional Claims

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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.

U.S. Farm Subsidy Policies Contribute to Worsening Obesity Trends

Study Published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine Concludes

Failure to consider public health in the formulation of agricultural policy has compromised the American nutritional environment by promoting the production and consumption of unhealthy foods

 

Diabetes_ProcessionAgricultural subsidies are responsible for making those processed and energy-dense foods that contribute to the American epidemic of obesity the most affordable options for consumers, concludes a new study led by Dr. Mark J. Eisenberg, a cardiologist and epidemiologist at the Lady Davis Institute at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal.

As Congress debates a new Farm Bill that will determine agricultural policy for the next five years, it is critical that public health be factored into legislation that will define the country’s nutritional environment.

 

“Tackling the policies that translate into food production and availability could be the most widespread preventive measure to address the obesity epidemic,” according to Caroline Franck, lead author of the paper published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

 

While many factors contribute to obesity, the ready availability and low cost of unhealthy foods in comparison with healthy alternatives are crucial. Indeed, obesity has been closely associated with poverty. Grocery stores and restaurants sell foods made from cheap commodities at lower prices, and commodities used in high fat and sweetened foods are artificially cheap because government subsidies have made the crops used to produce them lucrative to grow.

 Navigating Supermarket Aisles

Citing statistics from 2004, the study notes that 96% of American cropland is dominated by eight main crops, including soybean and corn. The former is the source of 70% of the fats and oils consumed by Americans, while the latter is a high calorie component of soft drinks, fruit drinks, canned fruits, condiments, baked goods, and ice cream, all of which contribute to obesity.

 

Recognizing that farm subsidies are an important safety net for a volatile industry, Franck and her co-authors propose that agriculture policy take public health into account when identifying how they ought to be dispensed. They recommend investing in sustainable agriculture that emphasizes biodiversity, quality foods, optimizing non-renewable resources, and sustaining the economic viability of farmers. Farmers should be encouraged to grow fruits and vegetables in place of produce used for sweeteners and hydrogenated oils.

 

“A successful reorganization of the American food environment will require commitment to mutually supportive interventions affecting food availability, price, marketing, and health education, at the local, state, and federal levels of government,” Franck wrote. “A revision of agricultural priorities is in order: public health interventions will remain limited in their impact until they can inform decisions that are made at every level of the American food chain, from growers to consumers.”

 

The American Journal of Preventive Medicine (www.ajpmonline.org) is the official journal of The American College of Preventive Medicine (www.acpm.org) and the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research (http://www.aptrweb.org/). It publishes articles in the areas of prevention research, teaching, practice and policy. Original research is published on interventions aimed at the prevention of chronic and acute disease and the promotion of individual and community health.

The journal features papers that address the primary and secondary prevention of important clinical, behavioral and public health issues such as injury and violence, infectious disease, women’s health, smoking, sedentary behaviors and physical activity, nutrition, diabetes, obesity, and alcohol and drug abuse. Papers also address educational initiatives aimed at improving the ability of health professionals to provide effective clinical prevention and public health services. The journal also publishes official policy statements from the two co-sponsoring organizations, health services research pertinent to prevention and public health, review articles, media reviews, and editorials.

The American Journal of Preventive Medicine, with an Impact Factor of 3.945, is ranked 15th out of 158 Public, Environmental, and Occupational Health titles and 18th out of 151 General & Internal Medicine titles according to the 2012 Journal Citation Reports® published by Thomson Reuters.

The Farm Bill, Follow The Money

June 11, 2013—Yesterday, the Senate passed the  Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013 (S. 954) by a vote of  66-27. The bill would reauthorize many of the nation’s food and agricultural programs while reducing funding for food stamps, farm subsidies, and environmental programs.

The bill is  opposed by conservative groups, like Freedomworks and the Heritage Foundation, for proposing too much spending, and by dairy farmers who oppose new milk supply limits.  Supporters of the bill include the crop insurance industry, which would see a  boost under the bill’s commodity provisions, and the biotechnology industry, which fought off an effort to add  GMO labeling language to the bill.

 

Data: MapLight analysis of campaign contributions to members of the Senate from interest groups supporting or opposing the bill according to MapLight from January 1, 2007 – December 31, 2012. Contributions data source: OpenSecrets.org

 

  • Senators voting ‘YES’ received  2.3 times more money from supporting interests than senators voting ‘NO.’
  • Senators voting ‘NO’ received  3.6 times more money from opposing interests than senators voting ‘YES.’
  • Martin Heinrich (D, NM) received  $359,106 from supporting interests, more than any other senator. He voted ‘YES.’
  • Jeff Flake (D, AZ) received  $1,385,370 from opposing interests, more than any other senator. He voted ‘NO.’

A link to this story can be found  here.

 

In previous weeks MapLight has taken a look at several provisions in the Farm Bill to examine how campaign contributions from special interest groups may have affected the final bill. Specifically we examined influence around the sugar program, GMO labeling, and crop insurance caps:

 

GMO Labeling Amendment Rejected Overwhelmingly in the Senate

 

  WILPF

May 24, 2013—Yesterday, by a vote of 27-71, the Senate defeated an amendment to the farm bill from Senator Bernie Sanders that sought to ensure that states can enforce their own laws requiring genetically modified foods to have special labels. 

How much money have members of the Senate received from companies that support the use of genetically engineered foods?

Read more

 

 

 

 

Extension of Sugar Program Remains in Farm Bill: Sugar Amendment Rejected

 

NatalieMaynor / Flickr &  imstock / Shutterstock

May 22, 2013—In an attempt to cut costs and limit waste, the farm bills advancing in the Senate and the House include many reforms to long-standing agricultural programs.

But so far the Sugar Program, criticized for boosting the price of American sugar by providing nonrecourse loans to growers and processors of sugarcane and sugar beets, has been left untouched.

How much money has the sugar cane and sugar beets industry given to members of Congress?

Read more

 

 

Senate Approves Caps on Crop Insurance for Wealthy Farmers

 

John Beales/ Flickr

June 6, 2013—In late May the Senate approved  an amendment to the farm bill that would reduce crop insurance subsidies for wealthy farmers. The amendment, sponsored by Senators Dick Durbin (D, IL) and Tom Coburn (R, OK) would reduce crop insurance payments by 15 percent to farmers with a gross annual income of $750,000 or more.

How much money have senators received from the crop production and basic processing industry?

Read more

 

About  MapLight:
MapLight is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization that reveals moneys influence on politics.

Media Contact:
Pamela Behrsin
c: 415-299-0898 | e: pamela@maplight.org | t: @imonlyabill

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