Amid the current debate on simplified, extended nutrition labeling for foods, The German Frozen Food Institute (dti) has re-confirmed its position on the topic, which was originally outlined in April.
The association has outlined a list of key points, which are important for the development of a nutrition labeling model and should be considered:
An enhanced nutrition labeling system labeling system must be used across EU
dti and its member companies expect the Federal Government to make a clear commitment to an EU-wide solution. It is necessary to take account of the findings of the EU Commission report on the evaluation of existing voluntary labeling systems and their effects. Nationally different systems would have lasting negative economic consequences for both manufacturers and retailers, in particular the use of multilingual packaging is no longer be feasible. This would hinder the free movement of goods in the European internal market. What’s more, for consumers different national systems lead to more confusion.
The scientific evidence for consumers’ understanding must be provided transparently
A pre-condition for the final decision on the nutrition labeling system must be a thorough, science-based assessment. It must be able to demonstrate transparency and be transmitted in way that is understood by customers. Labels have to make it clear to the shopper the contribution of each food to their daily diet. For better visibility, dti supports the attachment of the label on the front of the package. For better comparability, the reference quantity 100 g or ml is preferred.
Individual nutrients or products must not be discriminated
The future nutritional labeling system should not result in certain nutrients or individual processed and packaged foods being divided into “good” or “bad”. In a well-balanced diet, all foodstuffs have their place, especially processed foods, which make it easier for households to enjoy their daily diet. The decision to combine foods into a balanced overall diet is the responsibility of consumers. The extended nutritional labeling can only help. The Institute does not exclude the use of a color-coded labeling model.
Legal certainty for companies must be guaranteed
The introduction of an extended nutrition labeling system should eliminate the legal uncertainties, so that companies that voluntary place the label on their packaging are covered by Health Claims Regulation and national legislation. In particular, in the question of weather health-related statements could be derived from an extended labeling, there is still need for clarification.
Nutritional information in the out-of-home dining
Consumers are taking an increasing part of the meals away from home, were taste preferences are significantly shaped. Information about the nutritional value of the food is the exception. Therefore, it is important for policy makers to meet the challenge of developing differentiated labeling concepts for home-based catering services that will ensure healthy and balanced nutrition while meeting the needs of the specific needs of the target group.
Use digital media
In modern consumer communications, digital media already play an important role, which will continue to increase. Therefore, it is also important to accept to integrate digital nutrition information solutions (ex. Websites, apps, QR codes).
dti has no yet decided which of the systems currently available on the market to endorse, and instead waits the evaluations of the EU Commission and the Max Rubner Institute. The individual decision of some member companies, for example the introduction of the French Nutri-Score system, shows that the frozen food industry is committed to providing consumers with transparent and understandable nutrition information.