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Numerous studies suggest that there is a strong link between nutrition and health, and that deficient nutrition is a contributing factor to a number of non-communicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In the last 20 years, growing concerns in the European Union with the increasing prevalence of these conditions have led the Commission to develop a set of rules regarding food labelling which aimed to provide consumers with the necessary information to make informed decisions about their dietary options. Directive 90/496/EEC on nutrition labelling for foodstuffs, in place since 1990, has been the key instrument for informing consumers of the nutritional value of products. However, an extensive stakeholder consultation conducted recently by the Commission revealed that there is widespread agreement that the effectiveness of the Directive, and by extension the practice of nutrition labelling, could be much improved. The European Commission (EC) is currently considering a revision of its food nutrition labelling legislation. In this context, the EC DG SANCO commissioned RAND Europe to conduct an assessment of the economic, social and environmental impacts of each of the proposed policy alternatives, paying particular attention to how these alternatives would affect the strategic goals of the Commission and key stakeholders in this process. This report presents the findings from this research.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Nutrition labelling for foodstuffs: current situation and the need for change

  • Chapter Three

    Understanding the stakeholders

  • Chapter Four

    Determinants of the firm’s labelling costs

  • Chapter Five

    Voluntary versus mandatory nutrition labelling

  • Chapter Six

    Content of nutrition labels

  • Chapter Seven

    Ensuring information is legible

  • Chapter Eight

    Presentation of label: front or back of pack

  • Chapter Nine

    Comparing the options

  • Chapter Ten

    Monitoring and evaluation

  • Chapter Eleven

    Conclusion

  • Appendix A

    List of interviewees

  • Appendix B

    Survey results

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was prepared for the European Commission and conducted by RAND Europe.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation technical report series. RAND technical reports may include research findings on a specific topic that is limited in scope or intended for a narrow audience; present discussions of the methodology employed in research; provide literature reviews, survey instruments, modeling exercises, guidelines for practitioners and research professionals, and supporting documentation; or deliver preliminary findings. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure that they meet high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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