Italian farmers association Coldiretti has warned that the new EU draft packaging regulations could seriously impact consumers and agri-food companies.
The new regulations ‘would impose, among other things, a ban on disposable packaging for fruit and vegetables weighing less than 1.5 kg, judged to be superfluous and considered on par with the small shampoo packs used in hotels,’ the association said in a statement.
In practice, this would mean no more bagged salads, strawberry baskets, packs of tomatoes and oranges in the net, or magnum bottles of wine on supermarket shelves.
The lobby group claims this would open up a host of problems from the standpoint of sanitation, storage and waste, increasing costs for both consumers and producers.
'Impact On Consumption'
There is also a risk of a negative impact on consumption, as bagged salads and packaged fruit are a staple of Italian consumers, risking to further reduce consumption, which has already dropped by 8% for fruit and 10% for vegetables in 2022.
According to Coldiretti's analysis of Istat data, about 16.8% of Italians consumed fruit and vegetables at least four times a day – a sharp drop from 2015-2018 when the percentage was 20%.
The new regulations will also require the standardisation of wine bottles and the reduction of their weight, effectively eliminating the magnum size as well as those required for large aged wines such as Barolo and Amarone.
Additionally, from 1 January 2030, 10% of alcoholic beverages must use reusable packaging, rising to 25% as of 1 January 2040, while the threshold for wines, except sparkling wines, is 5% and 15%, respectively.
Read More: Italian Fruit Consumption Impacted By Low Availability, Says Coldiretti
Coldiretti is especially concerned that the changes would mostly impact the two leading exports sectors in Italy – wine (worth €8 billion in 2022) and fruit and vegetables (€5.7 billion) – in addition to processed fruit and vegetables (€4.8 billion), the sector most exposed to packaging changes.
The association proposes changes to the draft regulation by removing the ban on the packaging of single-use fruit and vegetables under 1.5 kilograms and redefining measures for the wine sector ‘in order not to jeopardise the quality of production and consumer choice.’
© 2023 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest Retail news. Article by Branislav Pekic. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.