Achieving Compliance with Nutrition Labelling

If your business sells food products, it is required by legislation to comply with certain regulations, specifically the Regulation (EU) No, 1169/2011. This regulation covers any and all food information that you make available to your consumer in terms of your product label or other means such as accompanying material, advertising, website, verbal communication or modern technology tools.

Mandatory Information

There is a list of requirements to which all food manufacturers must adhere when creating their food security labels. These requirements cover everything from alcoholic strength and allergens to the name of the food, special storage conditions, country of origin and date of minimum durability, to name but a few.

In addition to declaring the above information, each piece of information also needs to meet requirements in terms of font size. The font for this information must be no less than 1.2mm in height, and must be in Times New Roman face in size 8. Smaller packages having a largest surface area of 80 square centimetres and a height of 0.9mm must also declare mandatory information in Times New Roman font, but at the size of 6.

Principal Field of Vision

All information must be located on packages in such a way as to be in the consumer’s principal field of vision. This is the part of the package most likely to be seen by the consumer when they first glance the product at the time of purchase. The principal field of vision is what allows the consumer to identify a product’s nature, brand name and similar characteristics. In some cases, a product may have more than one principal field of vision. In this instance, a single field of vision must be chosen. This choice falls to the discretion of the food business operator.

Food Product Producers can Volunteer Information

In addition to the mandatory information you must provide to your customers, you can also choose to volunteer information. You can choose to display this information in general or detailed format. The general format will communicate the energy value of your product, where the detailed format will allow you to list their energy, fat, saturate, sugar and salt content. Regardless of the format you choose, if you’re volunteering this information, you’ll also need to include a reference for the intake of your product per average adult.

Label Colours Matter

Regulations stipulate that all nutrition labelling in terms of salt, sugars, saturates and fat follow a ‘traffic light’ colour scheme of green, amber and red. These portions of nutrition security labels should appear only in vibrant colours, and not their pastel counterparts.

In terms of printing these lozenges, the other colours in use on the package, as well as the materials from which the packages material is made from will determine the printing process and colours used. Establishing which colours will be used involves much consideration in terms of how legible and clear the information will be in relation to that colour. And this will require adequate contrast between text and colours used.

Requirements also clearly state the percentage of the lozenge to be coloured, as well as how colour should be used. At least 1/3 of the lozenge is required to be coloured. As well, it is not acceptable to colour just numbers or words, or surround the lozenge with colour.

Allergens

There are also guidelines in place for proper labelling of foods which may contain potential allergens. These guidelines require all food businesses to provide this information on all unpackaged food they sell. This covers food sold at deli counters, served on a catering basis, in sandwich bars and in bakeries.

In ensuring that your food security labels are not only permanent, but easily visible, clear and easy to read and understand, and not misleading, you help to inform the customer about their purchase.