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Development of uniform food information –the case of front of package nutrition labels in the EU

European Union

Aug 03, 2022

The current malnutrition epidemic calls for actions. Current practices in the EU show a variety of communication efforts but the international character of food markets call for a harmonized language. The aim of the project is to identify the themes in the on-going debate regarding the development of a single front-of-package nutrition label in the European Union. A case study approach was used, focusing on the positions of different key stakeholders in Sweden and Italy. Overarching EU-perspectives, European Commission and European Council of Ministries were also included. Collected data from semi-structured interviews and strategic documents were used in a thematic content analysis. The results show that the stakeholders are influencing the process towards contradicting outcomes. Different stakeholders argue for opposing ideal labelling schemes, while still agreeing on the need for a harmonization. Major disagreements arise on whether the label should be voluntary or not, based on portion or 100 g and on the ideal label design. Stakeholders’ positions depend on food system role and previous experience of this type of labelling. The internal political debate in the European Union is still at an early stage and consensus has not been reached due to diverging views. The patterns that emerge from the analysis of the different point of views can facilitate the cooperation between stakeholders and policy-makers.

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