Food firms look to rebuild rep with labelling pledge

20th June 2014 - Fine Cut

Food corporations around the world have announced their intention to improve food labelling between now and 2018.

The industry is looking at ways of harmonising the nutritional information provided on products in order to improve consumer health and wellbeing.

Unveiled by the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), the plans arose from its recent annual summit in Paris and are based on a commitment made by the body through its 2011 Health & Wellness Resolutions.

The new labelling pledge is part of a series of measures intended to improve consumer trust, including ceasing all adverts for junk food aimed at children by 2018 and making company policies on nutrition and product formulation public by 2016.

Under the five-year plan by the food and drink industry, backed by the CGF board of directors, steps will be taken to reduce its impact on the environment, as well as measures that aim "to empower the world’s population to make healthier product and lifestyle choices".

In a statement outlining its latest goals, the organisation said: "By 2018, industry-wide implementation of consistent product labelling and consumer information [will be introduced] to help consumers make informed choices and usages."

An cross-sector survey will be carried out to monitor adoption of the recommendations and a report detailing progress is scheduled for publication in January 2015.

Paul Bulcke, Nestle chief executive and co-sponsor of the CGF's Health & Wellness Pillar, commented: "The consumer goods industry acknowledges its role in the health and wellness of society, the issues around it and the imperative need for actions. We have to scale up our efforts. We have to accelerate existing initiatives. We have to engage in multi-stakeholder dialogues and efforts."

The CGF has more than 400 members across retailers and manufacturers, with combined sales of €2.5 trillion (£2 trillion).

New food labelling regulations are due to come into force in Europe later this year, requiring products to carry mandatory information relating to nutrition, better legibility of text, origin details for unprocessed meat and any allergens highlighted.

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