Our Priorities › Nutrition & Health

Improving nutrition and health is a major challenge for society as a whole, influenced by a number of socio-economic and environmental factors, and there are a number of tools which the food and drink industry can use to address this. These range from changing the nutritional content of food to providing clear and concise information on pack. Overall, the industry aims to provide consumers with the information to make suitable choices for a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.

Encouraging balanced diets and healthy lifestyles

Manufacturers’ actions to encourage balanced diets and healthy lifestyles are always based on sound, accepted science about the benefits they can bring to consumers. For instance, food and drink manufacturers are reformulating and fortifying existing products on a voluntary basis, reducing certain nutrients (such as sodium (salt)) and fortifying other nutrients (such as vitamins and minerals). The European food and drink industry remains committed to increasing its reformulation and fortification efforts where possible, bearing in mind that there are a number of important technological, and often legal, constraints for doing so (reformulation is not possible for all products).

Providing information to consumers

Clear and concise labelling provides consumers with nutritional information, enabling them to make informed choices. FoodDrinkEurope calls for a pragmatic approach to assess whether or not manufacturers can meet labelling requirements and whether or not they bring an added value to the consumer. On a voluntary basis, FoodDrinkEurope and its members are also committed to rolling out Reference Intakes (RI) which provide nutrition information on a per portion basis (in addition to that provided per 100g/ml in the nutrition declaration). RI values have been developed for energy, protein, carbohydrates, fats, saturated fats, fibre and sodium (salt). Consumers can then use them to make informed food choices – made possible through a better understanding of how much of these nutrients exist in a portion and how much this represents in relation to daily, dietary intake.

Harmonising nutrition and health claims

FoodDrinkEurope supports EU rules on nutrition and health claims which aim to develop a harmonised, approved list of EU wide claims. This should create a level playing field on which food manufacturers can innovate and compete, while bringing benefits to the consumer. The industry is now looking at how to implement these rules and calls for greater clarity, backed by legal certainty, in this new and emerging science which can bring significant benefits to public health.

Working in partnership

Bringing together a wide range of stakeholders, the EU Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health (DPAH) aims to promote balanced diets and healthy lifestyles on a voluntary basis. As a founding member, FoodDrinkEurope is an active participant, engaging in concrete actions designed to curtail or reverse current trends in obesity and other chronic diseases. In 2010, Platform members submitted 140 commitments, 65 of which were pledged by FoodDrinkEurope and its members. In particular, FoodDrinkEurope and its members are committed to rolling out the voluntary nutrition labelling scheme, Reference Intakes (RIs), also known as GDAs, one of the most ambitious steps taken by a Platform member to date. FoodDrinkEurope is committed to continuing their efforts to achieve tangible results.