During the Workshop “50 Shades of Sugars” organized in Oslo on 11.06.2015, CAOBISCO, the Association of the Chocolate, Biscuits and Confectionery Industries of Europe discussed sugars in relation to the European health and nutrition challenges with Norwegian stakeholders.
Building on 9 established “Facts on Sugars” (see the brochure and leaflet on Caobisco website) Sabine Nafziger, Secretary General of Caobisco, stated that sugars can be part of a healthy diet and balanced lifestyle and that there is no evidence to single out sugars in the context of overweight, obesity and non-communicable diseases.
The challenge of overweight/obesity in Europe needs a holistic approach where the diet and lifestyle are taken into consideration. She also stressed the importance of mindful consumption.
In his keynote speech, Prof Klaus Hadwiger, from the University of Hohenheim, presented some empirical results from the FP7 EU Project INPROFOOD, which notably recommends that other stakeholder groups, such as SMEs, should be involved in the debate as they could bring valuable new perspectives. He also encouraged the industry to pursue their efforts on reformulation, consumer-friendly labelling and not marketing to children.
The workshop provided the opportunity to share the sector’s experience so far in tackling the nutrition and health challenge:
Matthias Berninger (Global Head of Public Policy at Mars) underlined that Mars supports the WHO recommendation to keep daily intake of free sugars to maximum 10% of total energy intake. He underlined the importance of the emotional dimension of the debate and stated that the industry should continue to work on promoting balanced diet and physical activity. Sedentarity is a real issue and promoting physical activity is part of the solution to obesity.
Anders Högberg (Manager - Corporate Communication, Corporate Affairs and Commercial Excellence at Orkla) highlighted that Orkla promotes the positive keyhole approach for consumer information and strongly supports the MFU scheme.
Wenche Jacobsen (Secretary General of the Food and Drink Industry Professional Practices Committee‑MFU) presented the voluntary commitments of the Norwegian food industry in terms of marketing and advertising to children. She indicated that self-regulation works and showed some figures attesting the efficiency of the system. A report will be presented in January 2016.