Food and Agri Weekly Update - 11 November 2022 

COP 27

COP 27 will take place from 6-18 November 2022 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.  Egypt Foreign Minister H.E. Sameh Shoukry was formally elected as the COP27 President by the Parties he called on countries to show faith in multilateralism over the next two weeks as they negotiate to deliver on the goals of the Climate Convention and the Paris Agreement.

The Egyptian Presidency has designated several key thematic days that will include pledging opportunities, discussions, roundtables, and side events.  Today is Decarbonisation day with Agriculture day tomorrow.

For the first time since the adoption of the UN climate convention, parties agreed to introduce loss and damage funding as an agenda item at the climate conference

Gas producers have raised discussions about rebranding natural gas as a transition fuel rather than a fossil fuel.  Gas is less polluting to the climate than coal, but its production does involve methane, a polluting gas.

ASA Rulings

 Perfectly Green Ltd  Upheld  Social media (own site)  09 November 2022

A tweet by an artificial grass supplier misleadingly implied that their products were recyclable and environmentally friendly.  Perfectly Green Ltd - ASA | CAP

Perfectly Green has now assured the ASA that future marketing communications for the product would not use the name “Eco-grass” or claim that it was environmentally friendly.

The ASA considered that consumers would understand the claim that Soul Eco-grass was recyclable to mean that the product was easily recyclable once it had reached the end of its life cycle.  However, UK consumers did not yet have widespread access to recycling plants suitable for the product.

The ASA did not consider that articles discussing the potential future of the industry, or which highlighted the steps taken in the Netherlands to address the problem of recycling artificial grass, were relevant to the issue of how Eco Soul-grass would be recycled in the UK at the time of the complaint.

The CAP Code required that the basis of environmental claims must be clear, and stated that unqualified claims could mislead if they omitted significant information. It also stated that claims must be based on the full life cycle of the advertised product, unless the ad stated otherwise, and required that marketing communications did not mislead consumers about the product's total environmental impact. The Code also required that absolute claims must be supported by a high level of substantiation.

The ASA considered that the inclusion of the word “eco” in the name of the product implied that it was “eco-friendly”, and that the ad contained no qualifications or further information about the basis for that.

The ASA considered that claims that products were “eco-friendly” were absolute, and in the absence of further context or qualification, would be understood to mean that the advertised product was not harmful to the environment in any way, throughout its full life cycle. They therefore expected to see evidence which demonstrated that Soul Eco-grass caused no environmental damage over its full life cycle.

Because of the extraction of raw materials and subsequent processing of those materials in order to produce artificial grass had a negative impact on the environment, the ASA did not consider that the product had a positive environmental impact across its full life cycle.

World Cup

Brewdog vs Aldi re World Cup Campaign

Since its inception BrewDog has been no stranger to controversy.  Most recently though this has not been good news for the company. In 2020: ASA found against the Hard seltzer brand for implied health claims . In 2021: BrewDog was forced to apologize to a number of former employees who accused the company and its co-founder of fostering a “culture of fear” in which workers were bullied and “treated like objects.”

The latest campaign is looking to promote its values as rather what it is against and has announced itself as The Proud Anti-Sponsor Of The World F*Cup. 
 
It references the estimated 6,500 workers to die building the stadiums.  Although it will be showing the World Cup on its’ premises. It states that Brewdog are donating 100% of the profits from every Lost Lager sold during the tournament to registered human rights charities to help those affected.  https://lnkd.in/ekYRCBj8

Aldi

On the other hand, Aldi is the only one of the UK’s supermarkets to make reference to this year’s Christmas World Cup in its festive advert campaign, while also bringing Kevin the Carrot and co back for the 6th consecutive year. 

The teaser ad – named ‘Feast of Football – pays tribute to classic Christmas film Home Alone as well as Nike’s famous Airport 1998 World Cup ad and is the first part of a campaign that will develop as the World Cup progresses.

Supply Chain and Bird Flu

Housing of birds order came into force on Monday.

Retailers have warned there may be some shortages of eggs. This has become caught up also in the egg throwing incident at King Charles and the Queen Consort this week. The price of eggs has however increased significantly.  However, in July, The British Free Range Egg Producers Association (BFREPA) called on supermarkets and egg buyers to ensure that the price rises in shops are reflected in the money paid to farmers.

Data seen by BFREPA showed shoppers are paying 20p more for a dozen free range eggs, but farmers are only receiving an extra 4p.

REPORTS

Food & Drink Federation

The FDF have published the FDF State of Industry Report based on the third quarter of the year or ‘Q3’ State of Industry Survey  state-of-the-industry-q3-2022.pdf (fdf.org.uk) . The latest survey highlights the number of challenges faced by Britain’s food and drink manufacturers, with companies seeing input costs increase by an average of 21% over the past 12 months, with a similar rise expected next year.  In Summary,

Persistent cost rises have eroded margins and manufacturers expect this to continue. In response, nearly 50% have cut or paused investment projects.  Businesses are prioritising investments that can help alleviate internal cost pressures. A key priority for manufacturers is to ensure an efficient use of energy and continued new product development (including packaging).

Labour shortages remain a significant brake on the industry’s growth, with the vacancy rate increasing to 9.1% from 6.3%

Energy costs are unprecedentedly high. Energy reached 22% of operating costs in the third quarter of 2022, up from 12% in 2021.

Manufacturers are looking for a range of government support to help them through this period, with 53% keen for tax incentives to support capital investment and 44% wanting to see a reduction in the costs and burdens of moving goods between the UK and the EU.

Convenience stores and ID checks

According to the latest research by digital identity specialists ID Crypt Global the convenience store sector has grown by 4.1% during 2022.

With the exception of the pandemic (2020 to 2021), the number of convenience stores operating within the UK has increased every year since 2012 – and the total size of the convenience sector is now 37% larger than it was ten years ago.  One issue identified is that more than a third (37%) failed to check IDs correctly when selling age-restricted products

Plastic Bottles

 ‘The price of plastic: ending the toll of plastic waste’ Report  Plastic waste (parliament.uk)Plastic waste (parliament.uk)  was published 7 November by the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs Committee.

It states UK sends over 60% of its plastic packaging waste abroad, exporting the problem of plastic waste to “countries that often do not have the ability to dispose of this waste sustainably”.

The report went on to recommend that the Government bans the export of plastic waste by the end of 2027, while also confirming its support for the plastic packaging tax.  To avoid paying this tax, manufacturers and suppliers must ensure that 30% of the content of their plastic packaging comes from recycled sources.

Food Fraud European Update for October published food_fraud_newsletter_10-2022.pdf

Indications highlight alcohol, honey and seafood in particular globally as at risk of food fraud.  Italy was most mentioned in Europe. Although it was also reported the German magazine Öko-Test tested several honey samples sold in German supermarkets. 11 out of 19 honey jars (mostly organic) were adulterated with sugar syrup, pesticide residues, genetically modified pollen, or impurities

FSAI Annual Report -

The Food Safety Authority of Irelands (FSAI) published the 2021 Annual Report. Food Safety Authority of Ireland Annual Report 2021.pdf  There were 59 Enforcement Orders served on food businesses and 154 food recalls and food allergen alerts; 171 Investigations and 227 risk assessments on food and food ingredients were completed.

Food Review on food inauthenticity  

An overview of the activities from authorities, guidance documents for the industry, suggestions for improving official controls and relevant analytical techniques. Food inauthenticity: Authority activities, guidance for food operators, and mitigation tools - Popping - Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety - Wiley Online Library

New limit for additives in tuna  

The European Commission has set new maximum levels for three additives (ascorbic acid, sodium ascorbate and calcium ascorbate), used as antioxidants in tuna, in order to combat food fraud and to limit the exposure of consumers to the risk of histamine. Commission Regulation (EU) 2022/1923 EUR-Lex - 32022R1923 - EN - EUR-Lex (europa.eu)

A systematic review and meta-analysis on seafood mislabelling in Italy

Researchers have published a study summarising 51 scientific publications addressing the mislabelling in seafood products sold on the Italian market Mislabeling in seafood products sold on the Italian market: A systematic review and meta-analysis - ScienceDirect

International Men’s Day (19 November)

The ASA has always taken a firm line on harmful or offensive sexism, objectification, and irresponsible depictions of body image in advertising. And clearly, the potential for harm and offence to arise from gender stereotypes doesn’t just apply to women. There are many issues that affect men and boys, and advertisers must be careful to avoid making negative generalisations about them.  International Men’s Day 2022 - ASA | CAP

Self Care Week Taking care with ads for self-care - ASA | CAP

From a marketing perspective, ‘Self-Care’ covers a large range of products and services for foods these are likely to range from health and nutrition claims, to weight management products. There may well be a focus on these claims and food supplements by the ASA next week.

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