The Confederation of the Food and Drink Industries (CIAA) of the EU held a stakeholder event on 2 March, where the issue of how to present portion info topped the bill. It says portion size information is a key challenge for the whole sector. It has been a big feature of recent discussions over a front-of-pack labelling scheme for the whole EU.
EU food and drink manufacturers welcome the broad consensus voiced among stakeholders on 2 March at a CIAA event to discuss portion information on food and drink products and its relevance for consumers in making food choices in line with their dietary needs.
It said that panelists agree that, in addition to mandatory nutrition labelling per 100g/ml back-of-pack, agreed some front-of-pack information was useful for consumers in providing simple, at-a-glance information on food and drink products.
“CIAA supports the mandatory provision of the GDA icon for calories (energy) per portion on the front-of-pack, with the option of providing additional GDAs on a voluntary basis (front or back of pack) in line with the CIAA scheme,” it said. “This flexibility would ensure that not only the large, but also the small companies (which make up over 99 per cent of the EU agri-food sector), are able to implement the provisions.”
However the discussions are far from over. The CIAA is still conducting technical work to ensure best practice is applied throughout the industry, with a consistent methodology for giving information. Its work over the coming months will feed into the multi-stakeholder law-making process.
New guidelines to help food businesses provide consistent information on portion sizes,
produced by grocery research group IGD last year, said that nutritional info should be given per portion not just per 100g.
The IGD’s Industry Nutrition Strategy Group started looking at how portion sizes are determined in 2008. It has reviewed portion advice drawn up by industry, governments and NGO, and conducted consumer research undertaken in focus groups and through a quantitative survey of 1,067 adults.
Following on from this, the voluntary guidelines aim to point food businesses towards language and tools that are practical and relevant for consumers. Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive of IGD, said the guidelines were developed bearing in mind what consumers said would be helpful.