Dr Daniela Büchel, Director of the REWE Group’s German Trade Division, explains the results of the consumer research poll that were presented today by the Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture:
“The poll shows that consumers in Germany want the nutritional labelling on food products to provide them with more information. It is the REWE Group’s avowed goal to help our customers to eat healthily. This is where the Nutri-Score comes in. The REWE Group is prepared to take on a pioneering role by placing the nutritional information on its private-label products. What form this will take, of course, will only become clear once the Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture has presented the regulatory framework on how the Nutri-Score will be introduced.
Including the Nutri-Score on product labels can only offer added value to our customers when used on all the products in our range and this requires the commitment of the entire sector – retailers and the food industry alike. In the interest of transparency, the Nutri-Score must feature on both private-label and branded food products.
There is also a need for a broad media campaign that makes full use of digital information technologies and communication channels to publicize the new, enhanced labelling; because the desired effect will only be achievable in conjunction with the detailed nutritional tables that customers are already familiar with on the back of product packaging.”
Back in June 2017, the REWE Group presented a strategy aimed at reducing sugar and salt intake. The recipes of several hundred private-label products have since been modified, achieving a two-figure percentage reduction in sugar on average. It is our goal to modify the recipes of our private-label products in the long term without this noticeably affecting flavour. This will require a different approach for each product group and could involve introducing new technology to alter the manufacturing process just as much as using different spices or fruit components to modify product recipes.
The REWE Group’s salt and sugar reduction programme is a long-term endeavour. This is because it takes a long time for us to get used to flavours that we are conditioned to expect. One major obstacle in the REWE Group’s view is the Health Claims Regulation under which product packaging can only explicitly call out reduced salt and sugar if the reduction exceeds 25% and 30%, respectively. The company sees a continuing need for action here.