United Fresh has just completed an update of its nutrition information panels (NIPs) for the entire fresh fruit and vegetable sector, providing industry partners with consumer-friendly detail on serving sizes and health benefits.
NIPs provide information on the average amount of energy (in kilojoules or both in kilojoules and kilocalories), protein, fat, saturated fat, carbohydrate, sugars and sodium (a component of salt) in food, as well as any claimable vitamins and nutrients.
United Fresh, the organization that represents the interests of all involved in the fresh fruit and produce sector, worked with crown research institute Plant & Food Research and nutritionists on the NIPs project. They used the most up to date information from the latest FOODfiles 2016 to ensure that new regulatory requirements were clear and consistent.
United Fresh General Manager Paula Dudley says the updated information took one year to complete and is an invaluable resource for the pan-produce industry. “It is helping the sector respond more effectively to the new regulatory compliance requirements on making health and nutrient claims for fresh fruit and vegetables.”
Dudley says members were increasingly seeking advice from United Fresh about what they can say regarding nutrition and health claims on labels and panels.
“We are providing the fresh produce industry with up-to-date nutritional information to validate the considerable health benefits of fruit and vegetables. The new recommended serving sizes are generally bigger, and the nutrient and health claims have increased quite substantially.”
With the proliferation of pre-packed salads, consumers are keen to know all the relevant health information. “For example, if a package of fruit had a good source of vitamin C, the amount in each serving must be shown on the nutritional information panel,” said Dudley.
The project highlights the continuing focus of United Fresh on providing up-to date and relevant information to its members. The United Fresh Technical Advisory Group (TAG) in particular has been working proactively on behalf of the fresh produce industry over the past year across a range of matters, including the increasingly important issues of Food Safety & Traceability, as well as Biosecurity, and Compliance in areas such as Weights & Measures and Refrigeration.
The group’s Chairman, Dr Hans Maurer, says TAG’s work is playing an important role in ensuring that the pan-produce sector presents a more unified and integrated front.
“Our industry membership sees the value in tackling certain technical matters that impact on everybody in the value chain, and working them through at an industry level.
“And the regulators have welcomed the fresh produce industry taking the more integrated approach we’ve been able to bring through TAG. United Fresh is an ideal dialogue partner for other industries or government agencies who want to talk to the entire fresh produce value chain, rather than just individual parts of it,” says Maurer.
*NIPS are available on request for members of United Fresh.