Nestlé Criticizes Timing of Product Label ReformBy Jan Hogewoning | Tue, 11/10/2020 - 13:28
Almost six weeks after new rules went into effect, another food giant has expressed its discontent with the way in which new labeling requirements were implemented. At a virtual session during the Cumbre de Negocios 2020, that took place on Nov.8-10, Director General of Nestlé Mexico Fausto Costa stated Nestlé will comply with the norm. “However, this was a very complicated process.” His criticism appeared to focus primarily on the timing of the law in times of a pandemic. “Products are reaching the shelves but at a significant cost, when the pandemic should have been the priority. Companies should be investing in the country in other areas of innovation and expansion.”
At the summit, Costa pointed to Brazil as an example. There, he stated, companies have been given two years to adapt their products and another year to ensure all products on the store shelves are replaced. Part of the problem in Mexico was a lack of clear communication, he said. “[The new labeling reform] was implemented on Oct. 1, so everyone understood that the products manufactured from Oct. 1 onward would have to follow the new standard, but in July the industry was informed that all products on the shelf (by Oct. 1) had to follow the new standard.” As a consequence, products that were already manufactured had to be changed manually, putting stickers unit by unit, Costa said.
On Oct. 1, MBN reported that over 50 companies had started an amparo process against the labeling reform or particular aspect of the process. Alfonso Guati, General Director of Standards at the Ministry of Economy, stated at the time that he did not expect these amparos to be resolved before 2025. Despite fierce criticism and opposition, there is ample proof that companies have not only changed their labels but also to the formulation of products to reduce the content of sugar, calories and other ingredients. On Oct.13, MBN reported that multiple companies in Mexico had made significant changes to their products.
Consumers also appear to be reacting to the new labels. A Reforma survey revealed that an estimated 50 percent of Mexicans had increased their understanding of food products due to the new labels. 19 percent indicated that the new labels had not impacted their comprehension of what is in the products. 42 percent of those surveyed, however, expected the labels to help reduce child obesity in the country.