Unione Italiana Food
UNIONE ITALIANA FOOD has always promoted the development of a culture of quality, firmly believing in the effectiveness of initiatives carried out voluntarily at the organisational level of the category, in order to encourage the development of virtuous behaviour. In this regard, UNIONE ITALIANA FOOD – which is constantly committed to monitoring the compliance of advertising messages – promotes the adoption of this self-regulatory code for honest and fair advertising, with particular attention to commercial communication and aspects concerning health, nutrition and well-being. The purpose of adopting responsible commercial communication practices is in fact that of promoting business integrity between member companies, avoiding disputes that could damage the image of the entire sector.
UNIONE ITALIANA FOOD is convinced of the need for consumers to have the correct knowledge and tools to make informed and aware choices about the food they buy, and to this end it considers it important to also make a further contribution to commercial communication relating to nutritional and health claims, pursuant to regulation 1924/2006/EC, with recommendations on uniform behaviour which still enable UNIONE ITALIANA FOOD companies to:
- Compete in a free market;
- Have the same conditions as other European competitors;
- Be able to innovate, reformulate and improve products to meet the new consumer need and the demands of the Administration (nutritional attention), and at the same time have the possibility to communicate these aspects;
- Have no limits on creativity and freedom of expression, in compliance with current legislation (the food sector has one of the most complete and exhaustive legislations at national and international level).
In this context, after the entry into force of Regulation 1924/2006 and the diffusion of products bearing claims, in particular comparative claims, the Association has decided to adopt this Code, the objectives of which can be summarised as follows:
- Improve commercial communication;
- To have greater legal certainty and guidelines increasingly consistent with European guidelines;
- Become a useful and clear reference not only for Companies, but also for consumers;
- Prevent costly disputes.
Within the aforementioned EU regulation, and in particular in its annex, absolute and comparative nutritional indications are regulated in detail. The latter differ from the former because they do not imply that the product is devoid of or low in a certain nutrient in absolute terms, rather that they have a reduced/increased amount of a certain nutrient compared to a range of foods in the same category. And it is precisely on the clarification of this last aspect that UNIONE ITALIANA FOOD – in line with the indications of the ACGM – has developed specific guidelines for baked goods, breakfast cereals, confectionery products, ice cream and fruit jams/preparations, where the main product categories are identified and, within each category, a list of reference foods, their producers and the relative content of the single nutrient stated in the claim, ending with the average market value of the main nutrients to which all players can refer for the purpose of fair comparison. To avoid systems that are too segmented, complex and difficult to manage, the sectors have been divided into a limited number of categories that share the same raw materials, processes and consumption occasions.
The tables are the result of a complex process carried out by UNIONE ITALIANA FOOD, involving the verification of the nutritional values reported on the best-selling products, using the market data provided by IRI. We have used the arithmetic mean of the nutritional values available because unlike the weighted average, it ensures more transparency, less variability and easier management. Private labels are excluded from the tables as they are not collected by brand, but as an aggregate value. The tables are updated periodically once a year, usually in July. More detailed information is contained in the Guide available to member companies.