Branding News: EC proposes unified packaging directive

The European Commission is considering making radical changes to legislation by proposing to standardise packaging and labelling guidelines for consumer goods manufacturers in the European Union.

The commission hopes to introduce a single directive that could save businesses millions of euros a year. Companies would not have to alter the packaging of products for each of the 25 markets within the EU.

The proposals would change the way products are labelled, such as how ingredients are defined, products are weighed and nutritional guidelines are presented.

Last week the EC announced it was starting a consultation process with the food and FMCG industry to discuss the idea, with a view to introducing standardisation within two years.

The commission is said to be concerned that current legislation, contained in two separate directives from the mid-70s, is out-dated and costly for businesses because it varies between member states.

'The cost savings to industry and retail could amount to millions of euros a year,' said a commission official.

The initiative is part of an EC-wide initiative to cut red tape and reduce the amount of legislation affecting businesses across Europe.

FMCG and household goods companies such as Kraft Foods, Procter & Gamble and Unilever will all be affected by the changes, although none would comment on the consultation.

The Confederation of the Food and Drinks Industry welcomed the proposals, saying such an initiative would benefit its members.

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