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French consumers expect transparency in food packaging information and reject label "smoke screen"


2022-12-23 16:28

Overseas, June 10 - A new survey by French pollster OpinionWay has revealed that consumers want better food packaging and labelling so that they can get clearer information.

  According to Le Parisien, many drink bottles and food boxes now carry dazzling designs but lack practical information, with confusing labels, misleading pictures and incomplete ingredient lists. In the survey of a sample of French consumers over the age of 18, 63% of respondents felt that the packaging of food and drinks in supermarkets was inadequate, 62% felt that the information was not transparent enough and 58% felt that the instructions were vague.

  One of the survey's initiators, Anthony Durieux, founder of the French retail data exchange platform Alkemics, said that consumers want a change from this kind of eye-catching packaging and better labelling of food.

  According to the survey, one in two consumers are sceptical about the nutritional content of food labels, saying that they are purely a marketing ploy. The French consumer rights organisation Foodwatch also believes that much of the information on labels is "smoke and mirrors". Camille Doriotz, head of the association, said, for example, "It's true that the box of semi-finished vegetables says it contains no colouring matter, but it doesn't say that it contains other additives or that it contains ingredients such as sodium nitrite or that it is a potential carcinogenic risk."

  Antoine Durieux also said that consumers are demanding greater clarity on food packaging regarding the origin of ingredients. Today, the origin of meat and dairy is written more clearly in France, but other foods still need to be improved and every consumer should know where the food they buy was produced, processed and packaged.

  Christopher Brusset, former purchasing manager for the French food processing industry, said that many food labels carry the French tricolour flag or a country recipe suggesting that the food comes from France or a French location, but in reality this is not always the case and in some cases it is deliberately vague and misleading, for example when it says "Herbes de Provence For example, it may say "herb de Provence" when in fact the plant does not come from Provence in the south of France, but from Turkey, Morocco or Egypt, and the term "Provence" is simply the name of the processing method.

  Agathe Ginius, spokesperson for the World Association for Farm Animal Welfare (CIWF), pointed out that the pictures on some food packaging are very confusing, such as a cheese with a picture of a goat in a meadow, when in fact around 70% of the cows do not live in pasture. So, in addition to information on the origin of ingredients, there should also be more transparency for consumers about their breeding, slaughter, processing and transport.