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Research Reveals Consumers Demand For Clearer Food Labelling
Consumers have given a resounding 'NO' to more complicated processed food according to a survey commissioned by ingredient supplier Ulrick & Short.
Food manufacturers are very much aware of the requirements of the Food Information for Consumers Regulation (EU 1169/2011 – also known as ‘FIC’), due to come into effect on December 13 this year.
Only four months away from the introduction of the new guidelines, Ulrick & Short’s survey has highlighted key consumer concerns about food labelling and ingredients, which will not necessarily be addressed by the new regulations.
Changes in legislation required under FIC will include: • Mandatory nutrition information on processed foods (by 2016); • Mandatory origin labelling of unprocessed meat from pigs, sheep, goats and poultry; • Highlighting allergens e.g. peanuts or milk in the list of ingredients; • Better legibility i.e. minimum size of text; • Requirements on information on allergens also cover non pre-packed foods including those sold in restaurants and cafés.
However, in the survey – in which 2,000 consumers were questioned about their attitudes towards labelling and food content – the topic of greatest concern was the complexity of labels on food. An overwhelming 75% of respondents stated that they would like to see simpler labelling, with nearly half – around 45% – avoiding artificial additives such as e-numbers in their shopping basket.
Adrian Short, director of Ulrick & Short, said: “Our entire philosophy rests on our commitment to providing genuine clean label, non-GM alternatives to food ingredients, whether that’s removing additives such as phosphates, making food healthier by reducing fat or simply creating allergen-free versions of old favourites.
"As well as improving the nutritional profile of many products, U&S ingredients provide manufacturers with the means to effortlessly simplify and clean up their ingredient declarations – which is clearly what consumers want.
“Over 70% of survey respondents said that they are much more aware of their eating habits than they used to be, indicating that they are more likely to pay attention to what is in their food. FIC will actually add to the burden on food manufacturers, requiring them to include even more information on their packaging. There’s no better time to take a good look at making better use of clean label ingredients, not just for health or cost reasons but to clean up ingredient declarations and meet the demand from consumers for simpler, clearer labelling.”
Three Out Of Big Four Suffer As Supermarket Price Wars Push Grocery Inflation To Rock Bottom
The latest grocery share figures from Kantar Worldpanel for the 12 weeks ending 17 August, show that grocery price inflation has fallen for the eleventh consecutive period, standing at just 0.2% – the lowest level since October 2006, when Kantar Worldpanel began this specific measure.
Edward Garner, director at Kantar Worldpanel explains: “Competitive pricing among the big grocers and deflation in the price of staple items such as vegetables, milk and bread has driven inflation down yet again. This naturally impacts on the overall growth of the grocery market, which has fallen to a 10 year record-low of 0.8%.”
Despite tough market conditions Asda, Waitrose and Farm Foods have all performed ahead of the market in terms of growth, with both Asda and Waitrose boosting market share to 17.2% and 4.9% respectively compared with the same period last year.
Edward continues: “Asda and Waitrose have achieved growth with differing strategies. Asda has pushed its “Price Lock” strategy to keep prices on everyday essential items low, while Waitrose is running competitive offers on home delivery alongside offers for myWaitrose card users allied to its overall quality and provenance positioning.”
Meanwhile, Aldi and Lidl have maintained their record shares of 4.8% and 3.6% respectively, mainly thanks to some 53% of households in Great Britain shopping at either outlet over the past 12 weeks.
With the exception of Asda, the big four are feeling the squeeze as Tesco and Morrisons shares remain under pressure, while Sainsbury’s has suffered a small drop in share from 16.5% to 16.4% as its sales growth lags behind the market at 0.3%.
New Research Shows Food Not To Blame For Nation's Obesity
New research finds UK's rise in obesity has been primarily caused by a decline in physical activity.
The rise in obesity amongst the UK population has been primarily caused by a decline in physical activity.
Using government figures, this new study debunks the popular belief that the rise in obesity in recent decades is the result of increased calorie consumption in general, and sugar in particular.
In The Fat Lie, Christopher Snowdon studies evidence from DEFRA, the National Diet and Nutrition Survey, the ONS and the British Heart Foundation, finding that all the evidence indicates that per capita consumption of sugar, fat and calories has been falling in the UK for decades.
Despite public health campaigners portraying Britain’s obesity ‘epidemic’ as a result of increased availability of junk food, this conventional wisdom has no basis in fact. People have reduced the number of calories they consume, but have reduced the amount they move around even more.
Key statistics: * Since 2002, the average body weight of English adults has increased by two kilograms. This has coincided with a decline in calorie consumption of over 4% and a decline in sugar consumption of nearly 7.5%.
* Of food eaten outside the home, daily calories consumed have fallen from 310 in 2001/02 to 219 in 2012, a drop of nearly one hundred calories per day in ten years.
* Data for eating out does not go back prior to 2000, but we do know that Britons were consuming more calories in the home in 1974 than Britons consumed in and outside the home combined in 2012.
* Despite falling calorie intake, average body mass has increased by 5 kilograms since 1993. The crucial missing variable, often overlooked by campaigners, is energy expended.
* Britons walk an average of 179 miles a year, down from 255 miles in 1976 and also cycle less; averaging 42 miles a year compared to 51 miles in 1976. 40% of people report spending no time even walking at work. The rise of office jobs and labour saving devices means people have fewer opportunities for physical activity, both at work and at home
Key findings: * ‘Big Food’ is not to blame: Food supply is a more inviting target for health campaigners than the sedentary lifestyles of the general public. A war on the food industry requires no stigmatisation of individuals and there are a readymade set of policies available which have been tried and tested in the campaigns against tobacco and alcohol. * Under-reporting of eating habits does not change conclusions: Although measuring the diet can be difficult because people tend to downplay the amount they eat, the question is not whether people under-report but the extent to which under-reporting has changed over time. It is extremely unlikely people have become so forgetful that the large and virtually uninterrupted fall in calorie consumption reported in successive studies can be explained by misreporting. * A one-size-fits-all response is not the solution: The fact that Britons, on average, are eating fewer calories does not mean that everybody is eating less, but we should be sceptical about those who claim that reducing calorie intake across the population will lead to less obesity. That clearly hasn't happened in the past.
Commenting on the report, its author, Christopher Snowdon, said: “The root cause of Britain’s rising obesity levels has not been a rise in calorie intake but a rise in inactivity. With obesity now featuring so heavily in the media it is worrying that so few people know that our largely sedentary lifestyles, not our appetites, have been the driving force behind the UK’s expanding waistlines.
“Campaigners promoting a healthy lifestyle should refocus their efforts towards encouraging exercise and away from a war on food. Anti-market policies aimed at the whole population such as fat taxes will do nothing for the nation’s health.”