Food Labelling and SMEs

Newsletter No. 72 - Item 3

The laws relating to the labelling of our foods are becoming increasingly stricter.

Wearing the hat of a consumer, the more I know about the ingredients that are in the food I eat, the happier I am, because of the ever increasing number of ingredients not naturally in our foods.  These ingredients have been developed and progressively introduced into the manufacturing process over the years.  Adding value to basic ingredients by processing foods has enabled companies to increase profitability.  To achieve this requires foods to taste good after undergoing industrial scale cooking and have extended shelf life.  This has led to the introduction of less than desirable ingredients added to our foods not only to meet those criteria mentioned but all too often to bulk the food up with low cost and nutritionally inadequate ingredients to increase profits.

Wearing the hat of a small company producing and marketing produce, this presents additional costs of production that will cost the same per product regardless of the company’s turnover – thus increasing the unit production costs for the smaller company.  This article “Labelling Law Costs for SMEs raise concerns” suggests that the cost is Euro400 per individual product.  The impact of these costs is significantly greater for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) with limited turnover when compared to the multi-nationals and large enterprises with high volume numbers of individual products.

 A quote from the article:

 “Food and drink make up the largest manufacturing sector in the EU, with a turnover of €913bn in 2007. Only 0.9 per cent of companies are classified as ‘large’, with 250 employees and over, but they provided 51.5 per cent of turnover”.

This is another cost that must be recognised by any wishing to market into the EU or any other region with strictly enforced labelling regulations in place.

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