CURRENT ISSUES
Food and Drink

More than 330,000 foodservice operators and 73,000 retailers rely on FWD members for the supply of fresh, chilled and frozen food – often delivered daily, and ready to go straight on the menu or the counter.

FWD represents wholesalers in reactive action by government, for example taking the lead in representing the industry on issues such as Free School Meals, Holiday Hunger and wider health and obesity issues. FWD is on the board of the School Food Plan Alliance, which brings together organisations with an interest in school food and attend the regular meetings of the School Food All Party Parliamentary Group.

 

We are also actively involved in the formulation of food regulation. We work with the Department for the Environment and Rural Affairs to produce guidance on the new Food Information to Consumers regulations, and bring members together to discuss how best to implement the requirements.

In addition, FWD represents members’ views on economic controls on food supply, such as the Soft Drinks Levy, to ensure that unintended consequences of intervention are taken into account, such as the growth of a grey market.

FWD recognises the role that alcohol plays in contributing to anti-social behaviour and health harms, and supports across-the-board measures that consider the supply of alcohol equally, such as minimum unit pricing.

on your plate
On the radar this month:

August 2020

Front of Pack Labelling

The Department of Health and Social Care has launched a consultation on Front of Pack nutrition label- ling in the UK, seeking views on the current label, whether it could be improved, and views and evidence on international labels used in France and Chile, to ensure that labelling has maximum impact to inform healthier choices. The UK Government has also commissioned an independent research body to test whether specific Front of Pack labels help consumers identify healthier choices when purchasing food and drink. FWD will respond to the consultation, which runs until October.

Frozen guidance

FWD are among the signatories on new guidance to help businesses manage frozen stock approaching the end of its shelf life to avoid significant amounts of food waste, which has been produced by the BFFF and is also supported by Food Minister Victoria Prentis, and Ben Elliot the Food Surplus and Waste Prevention Champion for Defra.

Allergens

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has published updated technical guidance on food allergen labelling and information requirements. The guidance has been updated ahead of enforcement of the Food
Information Regulations 2019 from October 2021 in England and Wales. These regulations will require food businesses to label all pre-packaged foods with a list of ingredients which emphasises allergens. FWD is campaigning for a mandatory allergens database to help caterers provide accurate information to consumers.

FWD takes its responsibilities seriously as more than 330,000 foodservice operators and 73,000 retailers rely on FWD members for the supply of fresh, chilled and frozen food – often delivered daily, and ready to go straight on the menu or the counter. Ensuring people live, eat and drink healthily is therefore crucial.

Given the vital importance of allergen labelling, wholesalers would like to see more done to give allergy sufferers greater confidence in the safety of their food. This could be done by mandating manufacturers to place allergen information in a central repository, which would allow food operators to easily access allergen information.

Currently there are multiple such systems which exist. A centralised database would only require manufactures to provide information once. Another benefit of this system is that it would easily communicate product recalls.

We are calling on the Government to:

  • Introduce a central allergens database for all food product ingredients that wholesalers can access to ensure they can flag any potential allergens to customers
  • We strongly believe the Government should mandate such a database as this system would be fundamental in ensuring the changes to allergen labelling are robust and reliable and provide greater security for consumers
  • Work with the Food Standards Agency and local authorities to use a centralised database to communicate product recalls

July 2020

Obesity strategy

The Government has launched its strategy to combat obesity in the UK. Measures include:

  • A ban on TV and online high fat, sugar and salt  adverts before 9pm – for the whole of the UK 
  • Front of pack labelling –a UK-wide consultation
  • Introducing legislation to require large out-of-home food businesses, including restaurants, cafes and takeaways with more than 250 employees, to add calorie labels to the food they sell in England
  • Ending the promotion of HFSS food by restricting volume promotions such as buy one get one free, and the placement of these foods in prominent locations intended to encourage purchasing, both online and in physical stores in England
  • Consulting on how to introduce a total HFSS advertising restriction online 
  • A consultation before the end of 2020 to introduce calorie labelling on alcohol

On calorie labelling, the responsibility for calculating calorie content lies with the business making the food or drink, and responsibility for displaying calorie information rests with the business through which the food or drink is sold. Calorie labelling will be required on all items a business offers that are prepared for immediate consumption by the final consumer and are not subject to existing pre-packaged labelling requirements.

Exemptions include:

  • Educational institutions for those under the age of 18
  • In-house workplace canteens where the food and drink on sale is solely for the employees of the workplace
  • Health and social care settings where the food is provided solely for patients or residents