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Consumer information: European producers sign Memorandum of Understanding to provide energy value on spirit drinks

Uutinen   •   Kesä 04, 2019 16:00 EEST

Paris, 4 June 2019 – spiritsEUROPE, the trade association representing the producers of spirit drinks in Europe signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) today in which the sector commits to provide energy information on label together with full ingredient listing and detailed product-specific information online. The signature ceremony took place in the presence of EU Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis during the association’s General Assembly meeting in Paris.

The MoU is a voluntary agreement facilitated by the European Commission which goes well beyond the initial commitments made by the sector in March 2018.

For the first time, the MoU foresees a highly dynamic and ambitious roll-out plan on providing energy values on label according to which one in four bottles placed on the EU market can be expected to include energy information on-label by the end of 2020 – a share that is set to rise to 50% and 66% by the end of 2021 and 2022 respectively.

For online ingredient listing, the sector will go above and beyond existing legislative obligations, committing to indicate raw materials for all mono raw material spirits categories and vodka.

Following a long and intense period of negotiations over the past 14 months, conducted under the direction and auspices of EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis in the European Commission, the MoU’s aim is to put forward a common understanding and formulate a transparent and an ambitious self-regulatory approach that takes into account consumer information needs as well as sector-specific aspects and the existing legal framework.

The signatories – several company members and trade association members signed individually alongside spiritsEUROPE – will work with the Commission to monitor the impact and effectiveness of the MoU. Two meetings per year are foreseen to review and analyse the progress achieved on a regular basis.

“We are proud about the unique and pioneering commitment signed today by the European spirit producers which will provide consumers with the information they are looking for”, said Christian Porta, President of spiritsEUROPE.

“Calorie information will appear on the bottles and we’ll keep developing comprehensive ingredients and nutritional information through easy-to-use online tools for our customers so they are further empowered to make informed and responsible choice”, he added. “The text agreed today provides European distillers with the necessary clarity and guidance to implement the agreed rules within a highly ambitious timeline,” he concluded.

Commissioner Andriukaitis said: “We live in a time where consumers increasingly want to be better informed about what they eat and drink so they can make healthier choices. I am therefore pleased that today the spirits sector makes a leap forward providing Europeans with that very possibility.

I understand that many companies and associations had to get around the table to come up with the plan that I am being presented today. I congratulate the sector for these efforts and call on all producers to implement the MoU’s provisions along the agreed parameters and timeline.”