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Misleading Food Labels: How Product Information Management Can Help

January 21 2015
| 1 minute read

The rise of food allergies calls for label management

In fact, “The FDA estimates that food allergies result in 30,000 emergency room visits, 2,000 hospitalizations, and 150 deaths each year.

Food allergies have been on the rise and continue to increase in developed countries worldwide; on average, 5.2% of children under the age of 18 in the United States have a food allergy and a recent study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that food allergies increased almost 50% between 1997 and 2011.

The EU1169 food labeling requirements 

Food manufacturers all over the world are required to comply with the EU1169 food labeling regulation that takes effect on December 13, 2014 stating that the food information they supply to consumers on food labels must now include the following:

  • Allergens are highlighted in the list of ingredients
  • Non pre-packed foods to have information on allergens
  • Nutrition information on processed foods
  • Origin labeling of unprocessed meat
  • Legibility in regards to size of text

Increasing demand for transparency in product information

Regulations like this will continue to increase as consumers become more conscious of what they eat. Additionally, the high demand for food manufacturers to be more transparent with the ingredients they use in their products is unlikely to subside –think of the Subway bread controversy back in April 2014.

For parents of children with food allergies or people with food allergies in general, it can be frustrating and confusing when ingredients on packaged goods are not listed clearly or not listed at all.

This growing need for accurate product information coupled with the sheer number of people searching on their smartphones has food manufacturers changing their strategies to improve the consumer’s shopping experience and build trust.

What are the solutions to prevent misleading food labels?

Manufacturers are leveraging technologies such as a Product Master Data Management solution to consolidate and manage nutrition and product information across their organization in order to publish accurate and up-to-date information across all online and offline channels, regions and channel partners.

In order to improve collaboration with retailers, manufacturers can also syndicate information to third-party data aggregators, like GDSN, and retailer-specific attributes direct to their retail customers.

Enhancing supply chain visibility and becoming more transparent in regards to ingredients and allergen and nutrition information, allows consumers to easily access accurate product information so that they can make a purchase with confidence.

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Brian Cluster is Stibo Systems’ Industry Strategy Director for the consumer packaged goods and retail industries. He has a 20-year track record of collaborating on strategy, delivering analytics and developing business plans and digital transformation. At Stibo Systems, Brian is putting his varied industry expertise to good use, providing direction and strategy for field teams and helping to drive customer value for master data management solutions.

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