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Food labelling mapping tool to support red tape challenge - FO0445

EU and UK legislation sets requirements for food labels in the UK, aiming to provide consistency of information for consumers so that they can make informed food choices and to ensure a level playing field for food producers. However, the legal requirements on food labelling are complex and derived from several sources. The provision of advice on implementing of food labelling legislation could represent a cost-effective method to improve compliance levels, and the development of a guidance tool could help food businesses to navigate the relevant regulatory approval processes and understand policy issues, saving time and money.

This project will be conducted in three stages. Firstly, it will map food labelling legislation in England as well as existing tools and sources of guidance. It will then consult with stakeholders to ensure that the horizon scan of legislation and tools is complete, to understand potential barriers to business to access this information, and to discuss their preference for the format of an up-to-date guidance mechanism to understand the requirements for food labelling. In this way the project will establish what would constitute a commercially acceptable and respected source of information to simplify the regulatory framework for food. Lastly, the findings will be compiled in a report, with recommendations to support and direct the potential development of a guidance mechanism, and consideration of the scalability of the recommended approach.

The project will be led by BIO Intelligence Service (BIO), in collaboration with NSF-CMi. Established in 1989, BIO is one of Europe's leading consulting and research firms in the field of health, nutrition and environmental management. BIO has significant experience in managing projects for private or public decision-makers including Defra, governments in many countries, and the European Commission. BIO is also a pioneer in food labelling in France: working since 2006 on a labelling initiative of the French retailer Casino, BIO has analysed thousands of products from environmental footprint perspective and several projects for nutritional analysis of food products for UK and French companies. BIO also has extensive experience of working at the science-policy interface, collecting, handling and analysing data, providing simplified guidance, communicating with stakeholders and assessing legislative options. NSF-CMi are experienced in reviewing and providing assurance on legislation, working with some of the UK’s leading retailers, and have expertise in UK & EU trading and food law, HACCP and food safety, food technology (with industry experience of all key product sectors) and strong links to UK food industry.
The aim of the project is to research the scope and format of a mapping tool on food labelling information (i.e. all legislation (and guidance) that affects a food label), which will be used to support food businesses (with particular emphasis on new entrants and SMEs) to access free and up to date labelling information relevant to their product-specific sector(s).

This research will focus on the specific outcome of the Red Tape Challenge exercise dealing with non regulatory measures to simplify the regulatory framework for food businesses and map all labelling legislation in England.

This package includes:
1. development of a map of all labelling legislation relevant to a food business;
2. rationalisation of guidance; and
3. better use of advice services.

This will be drawn from existing knowledge, a literature review and consultation with stakeholders. It will seek to understand potential barriers to business to access this information and establish what would constitute a commercially preferable source of information.
The recruitment of stakeholders will be led by BIO, with the support of NSF-CMi. The map and rationalization of guidance will be led by NSF-CMi. The subsequent consultation, conducted by BIO and NSF-CMi, will be structured in two stages – an initial questionnaire, which will set questions based on the insight gained from the literature review (of legislation, existing tools and guidance), and a secondary follow-up with a sample of respondents. The findings will then be compiled by in a report, drafted by BIO with the support of NSF-CMi, with recommendations to support and direct the development of a mapping tool
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : BIONSF-CMi Defra foodlabelmapping final report-final-final   (1534k)
• ANX - Annex : Annex 4-Food labelling mapping tool project   (247k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2012

To: 2012

Cost: £40,100
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Bio Intelligence Service
Food Industry Sustainability Strategy              
Fields of Study
Resource Efficient and Resilient Food Chain