How the Food Information Regulations (FIR) 2013 affect UK food manufacturers and food labelling

All UK food will probably require redesigning by 13 December 2014 under the new FIR

All UK food will probably require redesigning by 13 December 2014 under the new FIR

 

I have been putting off writing this blog post for some weeks, but with the new year upon us its time to delve into of one the latest pieces of EU legislation that will come into force this year.  I am speaking of the Food Information Regulations (FIR) 2013 , the UK implementation of Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers (‘FIC’).  Stay with me….

What is this about?

The FIR 2013 is the first comprehensive review of how food is labelled since 1979, and changes the way that food is described on packaging.

The FIR 2013 is going to change the way that all food is labelled in the UK, and almost all food labels and food packaging is going to need to be redesigned to comply.  There are going to be a lot of busy graphic and packaging designers out there in 2013.

Key Dates

What are the requirements of FIR 2013?

I’m not sure at the moment… The detailed FIR 2013 proposals can be downloaded here, but may be subject to change after the end of the consultation procedure so it would be dangerous to redesign label based only on the consultation at the moment.

There are some interesting changes, such as the minimum core font height on all label text is 1.2mm (where x=1.2mm on the diagram below – Article 13.2 of 1169/2011)

x >=1.2mm to comply with the font size requirements of FIR 2013

x >=1.2mm to comply with the font size requirements of FIR 2013

and there is a new set standard for layout of ingredients, which will certainly impact many label designs.

nutrients must be laid out in this order according to the regulations

nutrients must be laid out in this order according to the regulations

 

What problems and solutions are raised by FIR 2013 as far as labels are concerned.

Simply put the issue is…

 

SPACE

 

To get all the new information on a label is going to take more space, requiring bigger labels (which unforunately equates to more cost), double sided labels or other clever solutions (watch this space for new innovations from Mercian Labels to come soon)

Conclusion

This is clearly a significant area of uncertainty at present, but we expect confirmation of the new regulations in the next few months.  In any event UK food label manufacturers should prepare to redesign their food labels, cartons and flexible packaging and engage with their packaging designers to plan to design in compliance.

If you wish to minimise the costs of changing your designs and are currently using flexo printing then we would urge you to contact us to migrate to digital labelling – as there is no plates or setup cost with digital, its FDA approved foodsafe for direct food contact and you can mix and match as many designs as you like with every order to minimise obsolete labels and maximise the potential or short run promotions.

What to be kept in touch with developments on FIR 2013?

We are planning a number of FIR 2013 information documents and events in the coming months – if you are interested in finding our more please email adrian.steele@mercianlabels.com and we will send you invitations to our FIR 2013 events when places become available.

Do you know more about FIR or wish to leave a comment or question?

Then please leave a comment below!

 

 Update 18 February 2013

Draft guidelines on “Questions and Answers on the application of the Regulation (EU) N° 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers” are now available to download.