Ice Cream for health-conscious consumers
1. Responsible Advertising & Marketing Practices
Ice cream is commonly consumed only as an occasional treat and therefore does not usually rank highly in the contributors to overall intake of energy, sugars and saturated fats. However, Euroglaces encourages its members to engage in responsible advertising and marketing practices including to children.
For this reason, Euroglaces has recommended since 2015 that its members sign up to the EU Pledge or to national initiatives having similar objectives, including a commitment not to engage in food or beverage product marketing communications to children in primary schools, except where specifically requested by, or agreed with, the school administration for educational purposes.
The majority of branded ice cream companies such as General Mills, Mars, Nestlé, Unilever signed up to the EU Pledge and committed not to advertise or market to children < 12 years, except for products which meet the defined nutritional criteria for ice cream which are an energy content < 110 kcal/portion, saturated fat < 5g/100g or 100ml, added sugar < 20g/100g or 100ml.
In addition, in some countries such as Belgium, France and Italy, the national ice cream industry associations committed to national Pledges or initiatives having similar objectives as the EU Pledge, and most of the members have signed up.
2. Product formulation & innovation
Ice cream formulation and innovation are high on the agenda of Euroglaces’ members as one of their key responsibilities in relation to nutrition and health.
There are several routes the European ice cream industry is following to reduce the intake of the “nutrients of concern” (energy, sugars, saturated fats) from ice creams, including
- Reformulation of current products to reduce the “nutrients of concern”,
- Reduction in the size of products wrapped individually and increase the availability of smaller pack sizes, for example mini versions,
- Innovation: the development of new products with lower energy, sugars and/or saturated fat levels to be marketed alongside current products and increase the range of products available to consumers.
In 2013 Euroglaces revised its Code for Edible Ices by decreasing the minimum dairy fat content for dairy ice cream from 8% to 5% to enable the development of products with a lower fat level. Euroglaces recommends that local ice cream codes and/or regulations follow this revised approach.
Through its network, Euroglaces is committed to further encourage and support ice cream companies, particularly Small and Medium Enterprises, who sometimes face more difficulties to improve the nutritional quality of their products through product innovation and reformulation. To this end, in 2014 Euroglaces provided members with recommendations and supporting tools which they can build on in achieving this.
Many Euroglaces members have made significant innovation and reformulation efforts over the past decade to offer consumers a wider range of ice cream options with reduced sugars and/or saturated fat levels and in smaller portion sizes.
In addition, in some countries such as Belgium, France and Italy the national ice cream industry associations have encouraged their members to commit to a reduction of the average levels of some nutrients of concern and some have taken a position on product formulation/reformulation.
3. Consumer information
Euroglaces believes that behavioural change is key to improve diets and lifestyle. Balanced diets are the result of conscious choices which are made possible through product offer as well as better consumer understanding of nutrition requirements and portion sizes.
In 2010 Euroglaces adopted a recommendation on an industry-wide typical portion size reference for nutritional purposes of 100 ml (or the equivalent in weight) for scooping products. This harmonized serving size for multi-serve products allows for fair and easy at-a-glance comparative nutrition information for consumers.
In addition to the mandatory nutrition declaration, most of the ice cream manufacturers have voluntarily chosen to also provide energy information per portion on the front-of-pack of their products, including as a percentage of the reference intake.
In addition to providing clear, fact-based nutritional information that enables consumers to make informed dietary choices, more and more ice cream companies also provide nutritional information via alternative communication channels such as company websites, smart-phone applications, etc.