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Where is the fruit?

Where is the fruit?” is a study by Freshfel Europe, based on the research commissioned to an Irish marketing consultancy, analysing the actual fruit content of a variety of FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) food products that use an image/picture or a word/reference to fruit on the outer packaging.

The use of attractive images on the packaging is a common tool employed to sell food products. However, with the arrival of new EU provisions to be applied in regard to the use of claims (EU Regulation 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods), the use of “pictorial, graphic or symbolic representations in any form, which states, suggests or implies that a food has particular characteristics”, is now indisputably included in the definition of what constitutes a “claim”, and has therefore to abide by the rules set in the Regulation.

From all the products analysed in the research (207), 18% – almost 1 in 5 products – contained no fruit at all, while the remaining 82% had fruit in one form or more. 50% of all products contained no (18%) or minimal fruit (32% had less than 10% fruit content) despite the display of images or reference to fruit in their package. Only 17% of products had more than 50% fruit content. Additionally, from all the products, 29% contained more than 15g per 100g or ml of sugar. Of those products containing at least 50% of fruit, 20% were also above this limit. Given the new EU Regulation on nutrition and health claims and the discussions as they stand so far on what qualifies as a “fruit and vegetable product”, and the requisites thereof to make claims on them, Freshfel’s research shows that from all the products included in the study (207 products), only 13,5% (28 products) would actually be “allowed” to carry images of fresh fruit on their packages without being in breach of the EU requirements and misleading consumers.

In light of the study results, either misleading images and statements from packaging, such as allusions to fruit and vegetables in products that contain little or no fruit or vegetables, should be removed, or existing food and beverages should be reformulated to significantly increase their fruit and vegetable content.

For more information on the methodology and results, please consult the full version of the study below.

  Where is the fruit?

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