Consumer Confusion Push for Industry Labeling Agreement

25 Mar 2010 --- A unified strategy is expected to be reached at the next NGH EU summit with representatives from Coca – Cola enterprises, Danone, Kelloggs Europe, Kraft Foods, Nestle all of which who have openly stated their concerns with the traffic light system.

25 Mar 2010 --- The European Committee has just voted against consumer pressure to introduce a traffic light colour code for food labeling.  But how has the industry reacted.  Coca Cola, Kellogg’s, DANONE, Kraft Foods and Nestle among many other industry leading representatives meet at the illustrious NGF Summit at the Grand Hotel Huis ter Duin, The Netherlands to discuss action plans (7th - 9th September 2010).

The new system already adopted in the UK has been unanimously agreed upon by consumer boards as the best way to combat global health concerns for obesity. It is no secret that this was widely rejected by the industry with growing fears of reduced competitiveness and unfairly portraying certain food products such as cheese and pâté as an unhealthy choice. 

As in many other areas of food manufacturing, the rules have changed for packaging and labeling. Regulations surrounding ingredient and nutrition disclosure as well as allergen labeling necessitate changes in labeling operations, while sustainability and security in packaging become increasingly challenging. The attendees at the NGF EU summit hosted by GDS International will explore the innovative technologies and practices to enable both compliance and efficiency within the areas of packaging and labeling and debate the widely controversial subject of honest and clear fat, salt, calorie and sugar content labeling.

Under the system a version of which is in use in the UK food companies would be required to label the front of their packages with red, amber or green icons to denote the amounts of fat, saturated fat, salt and sugar they contain.

Despite the rejection BEUC, Europe’s largest consumer organisation, called the vote “a severe blow” for public health. A unified strategy is expected to be reached at the next NGH EU summit with representatives from Coca-Cola enterprises, Danone, Kelloggs Europe, Kraft Foods, Nestle all of which who have openly stated their concerns with the traffic light  system.

With the consumer struggling with a mix match of food labeling solutions and confusing information an ever growing health conscious society is pushing for a standard solution.  Although voluntary use of the traffic light system has been embraced by stores such as Waitrose and Marks and Spencer’s other companies are using different percentage break downs and varying colour coding systems.  But can a viable solution be agreed upon given consumer pressure?

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