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15 April 2020 / article

Public consultation regarding the new approach on product improvement

As in many other parts of the world, Dutch people eat a lot of products with too much sugar, salt and saturated fats. To enhance public health, the Dutch government has developed an approach to urge companies to make their products more healthy.

On 24 March 2020 the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (Ministry) has opened internet consultations regarding the legislative proposal on this new approach to products improvements. Up to and including 5 May 2020 each organisation can react.

What does the legislative proposal entail

Most countries in Europe have committed to a national approach for product improvement. In the Netherlands, this approach has been documented in the Agreement on the improvement of product composition (‘Akkoord verbetering productsamenstelling’). As a follow-up to this Agreement, the Ministry has conducted a new approach, that will also be implemented in national policies.

The Dutch government envisages product improvement as the way to decrease the intake of sugar, salt and saturated fats. The measures incorporated in this proposal consist of the following elements: i) for a certain number of food product groups, such as meat, soups and sauces, limits will be imposed on types of nutrition (sugar, salt and saturated fats); ii), incentives will be applied to stimulate companies to improve their products based on the criteria set under i), such as naming and applying the nutri-score; iii) setting goals to reduce the intake of sugar, salt and saturated fats step-by-step and developing suitable monitoring for this; and iv) appointing an independent organisation that keeps track of progress, coordinates incentives and provides for information and communication.

Expected effects of draft legislative proposal

This legislative proposal aims to reduce sugar, salt and saturated fat in the following food groups: soups, sauces, meat, meat substitutes, savoury snacks, milk products and milk substitutes. The expected effect is to provide consumers with healthier product ranges.

The government intends to extends this later to more food product groups (e.g. bread and soft drinks) and also to other nutrition types, such as fibres, calories and portion size. The current legislative proposal aims to set targets for product improvement for a period of 10 years. The progress of this will be regularly monitored per product group.

Want to know more or discuss about this topic? Please contact our Food & Beverages Team.

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