Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Final Report Summary - NUTRILAB (NUTritional LABeling Study in Black Sea Region Countries)

The main objective of NUTRILAB project supported by EU Marie Curie IRSES programme was to identify and examine how nutritional labeling in European countries and out of Europe can influence on health and welfare of population. Health professionals agree that the relationship between diet and health is important. Our eating habits can help or hurt our overall health and well-being. Good eating habits include being a smart shopper and selecting foods that reflect the Dietary Guidelines. The food label was designed to help people choose foods for a healthful diet. By using the food label, we can compare the nutrient content of similar foods, see how foods fit into our overall diets, and understand the relationship between certain nutrients and diseases. Modernization and harmonization of nutrition and health information on food labels is an essential weapon in the fight against obesity, genetic and diet-related diseases. Cost-benefit analyses of food labeling reforms show that the costs of changing food labels is greatly outweighed by the health benefits of providing consumers with better label information.
The overall aims of NUTRILAB are:
- Bring together, review and analyze current research on consumer understanding of claims, and also labeling where this would inform our knowledge of consumer understanding of claims.
- Gather information on how consumer understanding of claims varies across different population groups, to gain insight into the understanding of the 'average consumer'.
- Draw conclusions from existing research to see whether there are areas where further informationwould be useful, and to inform the direction that any additional research conducted in future could take. We will reach these targets as a multidisciplinary team across Europe, sharing knowledge, developing new approaches. A strong component in this framework is the capacity building. We tried explicitly aim to identify and integrate the different and overlapping conceptual understandings of scientists from the different disciplines carrying out joined research in this project.
These targets were reached by the multidisciplinary team across Europe, sharing knowledge, developing new approaches. A strong component in this framework is the capacity building. The exchange scheme is between twelve partners from five countries of Black Sea region. Four partners are from ICPC countries (Ukraine and Russian federation), and eight partners are from MS (Romania and Bulgaria) and AC (Moldova).
The planned scientific activities involved four inter-related work packages which encapsulate the scope of the explored problems. This programme had been designed to address the overall objective.
NUTRILAB’s programme was organised in 4 Work Packages:
Work package n° Work package title
1 Coordination and management
2 Study in area of food labeling - case studies.
3 Elaborating the plan of harmonisation the national rules to EU rules for food labeling
4 Communication, dissemination, networking
Each of these work packages was designed to produce specific outputs. These included workshops to discuss the results, a website, a working paper series to put the research results quickly into the public domain, and books covering the scientific achievements. Overall, the work packages aimed to widen an established research agenda and develop a new conceptual and methodological approach. These assisted in promoting the new approaches in food labeling and transfer between EU and non-EU countries.
Benefits
NUTRILAB visits, seminars, workshops and collaborative writing have created multiple links between academics, universities and ministries. Participants have gained deep knowledge and appreciation of each other's research and of the ways in which universities are engaging with the challenges in a new approach in food labeling. They learnt from each other, helped academics create new international cross-disciplinary collaborative projects and events, and furthered knowledge transfer between EU and 3rd Country partners.
1. The knowledge generated gives policy makers an empirically based understanding of how reforms impact on food security and food safety, helping the producers to fulfill the all criteria of markets rules.
2. Other benefit – a strong social impact: Encourage people, especially children and teens to make healthful food choices by having them explore the foods they eat and the ways those foods are advertised. By studying the labels on their favorite foods and analyzing their commercials, children and teens can determine which foods are best for them and how food companies successfully get shoppers to buy their products. Once children and teens have a better idea about which of their favorite foods are healthful, they can go on to make advertisements of their own that promote healthful foods for their friends and family.
3. The third one – minimization of distance between the consumer and producer in today’s global food system, to avoid obstacles for effective communication and establishment of trust. Much of the literature related to product labeling focuses on the problem of asymmetric information: producers and salesperson are aware of the quality of what they sell, whereas consumers generally are not (Nelson 1970). In that case the provision of “independent” assessments by experts could increase this trust. Alternatively, government regulation can help ensure quality through enactment of policies.
This report is a summary report of the partner and country experience in relation to the NUTRILAB project. It has been based on inputs from all research partners and relates to the main themes of the NUTRILAB project:
studying the food labeling legislation and evaluation of food labels in partner countries and research related to these themes. The inputs from partners have been organized through workshops, by the use of questionnaires and narrative reports from the partners.
The partner experience summary report has been produced as a part of the WP1, and should be read in that context. The partner inputs, thus, has been an important step stone for the partners and the project itself to realize where we are and where to go in an iterative process. The reporting consists of the following outputs:
• Questionnaires from all research partners (food labels, legislations, ect)
• Narrative reports from all research partners (after every study visit)
• Summary report of partner experience (this present report)
• Annex Report to the summary report of partner experience (presenting the formats applied for the uestionnaires, narrative reports)
This Joint Exchange programme will identify and examine how nutritional labeling in European countries and out of Europe can influence on health and welfare of population. Health professionals agree that the relationship between diet and health is important. Our eating habits can help or hurt our overall health and well-being. Good eating habits include being a smart shopper and selecting foods that reflect the Dietary Guidelines. The food label was designed to help people choose foods for a healthful diet. By using the food label, we can compare the nutrient content of similar foods, see how foods fit into our overall diets, and understand the relationship between certain nutrients and diseases.
The 2WP - Nutritional labels analyses - had been performed in 5 partner countries and the results are presented as attachments.
Progress has been made in essentially all main directions of our work plan. The scientific highlights now are described in a separate document, which will be uploading at project web-site, according the work plan. As can be seen from the publication list, the network during the 36 months of the contract produced about 100 joint publications (monographs, articles at conferences).
There were several secondments of senior and young researchers from one node to another. Those funded by the network were almost 200. The numbers stand for different short visits with duration from two weeks to two months and the arrow indicates the direction of the secondment.
The project has fully achieved its objectives and technical goals.
The web-site: http://www.rosita.ro/nutrilab/research.html was officially launched in April 2013, and is running. The new part “SURVEY” is open for large public.

Related information

Documents and Publications

Reported by

Institutul de Microbiologie si Biotehnologie
Moldova
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