ECO-LABELS ARRIVING AS EU AND COMPANIES AIM FOR IMPROVED CONSUMER CHOICE

Discussions about an Europe-wide system for food eco-labels, which is due to be introduced by the end of 2022, are continuing to take place amongst officials.

The system, which could employ use green labels for the most sustainable foods, and red for the last sustainable, is coming at a time when manufacturers are introducing their own environmental scores.

Alexandra Nikolakopoulou, an official at the European Commission’s directorate-general for health and food safety, highlighted the labelling system at a recent online event on the use of data in the food sector.

She said the commission was developing both a legislative framework setting out minimum requirements for sustainability in the food system, as well as “sustainable labelling”.

“Consumers will be able to choose a product for example with a lower carbon footprint on the basis of a label,” she said.

Press reports have indicated that Unilever is set to start using its own carbon footprint labels on its products later this year.

Meanwhile, other food giants such as Nestle and Tyson Foods are part of a not-for-profit organisation, Foundation Earth, that will produce eco-labels for food products sold in Europe.

Major supermarkets, such as Spain’s Eroski and Sainsbury’s in the UK, are also part of the initiative, which reports indicate will produce a pilot scheme later this year.

A product’s carbon footprint will account for almost half of the score, while water use, biodiversity and water pollution will, in equal shares, be responsible for the rest.

Just as it is pressing ahead with eco-labels for foods, the European Commission has improved energy labels for food and drink machines, as reported earlier this year by Sial Paris Newsroom.

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