Nutrition Labelling

Policy Position

FDF fully supports the provision of nutrition labelling. UK food and drink manufacturers have long recognised the importance of providing consumers with clear on-pack nutrition information as a powerful tool for helping them make better-informed choices and improving their overall food literacy.

FDF members have voluntarily provided detailed nutrition information on the back of packs for many years, usually including per 100g, per portion and % GDA information. In addition, many FDF members have voluntarily provided simple, at-a-glance nutrition information on the front of packs in response to consumer demands. This has focused on the five key nutrients of most interest to UK consumers: energy, fat, saturated fat, sugars and salt. FDF’s position on front of pack labelling can be viewed here.

FDF welcomed Regulation (EU) 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers allows for this information to continue to be provided on a voluntary basis although GDAs has been renamed Reference Intake or RIs.

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Background

Nutrition labelling was harmonised at EU level under the Nutrition Labelling Directive 90/496/EC. This Directive was repealed on 13 December 2014 by Regulation (EU) 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers (FIC) which entered into force December 2011.

The EU FIC makes it mandatory to provide nutrition information back of pack, whereas previously nutrition information was provided on a voluntary basis unless a nutrition claim was made. The EU FIC details the nutrients and order these should be presented in – energy (both in kJ and kcals) and the amounts of fat, saturates, carbohydrates, sugars, protein and salt. Nutrition information has to be given per 100g/ml and can additionally be given per portion or per consumption unit and as % RI (formerly known as GDAs) for which there are now EU values. Information on other nutrients can also be provided on a voluntary basis, as long as they are listed within the Regulation. Information on vitamins and minerals can only be given if they are listed in the Regulation, if the food product has at significant amount of the Nutrient Reference Value (NRV) present (generally at least 15% for food, 7.5% for beverages) and if the %RI or %NRV present in the product is also listed.

The EU FIC also allows companies to repeat some of the nutrition information on the front of pack, energy alone or energy together with the amounts of fat, saturates, sugars and salt. FDF’s policy on front of pack nutrition can be viewed here. In addition the EU FIC allows for additional forms of expression and, in July 2013, the UK government announced details of a voluntary “hybrid” label which combines % RI with red, amber and green colour coding.

Companies who already provided nutrition information were required to comply with the new EU FIC rules for nutrition labelling by 13 December 2014 whereas companies who currently do not provide nutrition labelling will have until 13 December 2016.

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Last reviewed: 06 May 2016