FIC regulation came into force across the EU last week on Saturday 13 December, following a three year period for manufacturers to make changes accordingly.
Sebastian Emig, director-general of the ESA, said the preparation had been no easy feat for snack makers.
“This has been by far the biggest fish we and the rest of the food and beverage industry had to fry,” he told BakeryandSnacks.com.
Now the rules were in place, he said it was implementing them across the EU’s 28 member states that would prove complex.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty on what you are allowed to do on the packs or how lenient or strict it will be in the different member states. This is something which we’re nibbling on and which is going to give us a little bit of a headache in terms of business certainty. Without certainty we don’t have predictability and without predictability we don’t have a ‘business as usual’ approach,” he said.
We hope there’s a ‘common sense’ approach
Emig said some markets like Nordic countries were strict on implementation laws – expecting only packaged compliant with FIC from December 13 – whereas others like the UK were taking a more ‘common sense’ approach.
Some companies, he said, particularly the smaller ones had faced production problems because of bottlenecks in packaging supplies.
“I can tell you our big members – they take the highest amount of products from their suppliers in foil and packaging. The order books for suppliers have been full. The smaller players don’t have the same leverage as the bigger ones so this means they’re still a little bit behind.”
Emig said member states would have to talk to each other to learn about and tackle these bottlenecks.
“We’re not over the slope yet, but there is some sort of light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.
FoodDrinkEurope’s (FDE) work with EuroCommerce on developing pan-European guidelines had been hugely helpful so far, Emig said.
“That’s something, for example, which we should strongly favor and it should be taken properly into account… I think it should be a guiding principle and we should ask member states to look into it,” he said.