To guide consumers and reduce diabetes and obesity problems, an SME in the United Kingdom has devised a certification and advice service to help manufacturers develop and indicate those products conforming to the World Health Organisation’s recommendations for free sugar content. This system is quickly gaining international recognition. It now seeks interested food product manufacturers to engage through services agreements and other organisations for franchise or commercial agency agreements.
Current levels of sugar in many food products, particularly in processed foods and snack products are causing dangerously high levels of sugar consumption by people of all ages. It is recognised theses high levels of sugar consumption will fuel major, world-wide health problems from conditions such as diabetes and obesity. This sugar level consumption issue has become so acute that it is accepted that children growing up today will have a lower life expectancy than their parents. In response to this situation, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued recommendations that no more than 5% of a person's daily calorific intake should come from free sugars (i.e. sugars added to food and drink, and sugars found naturally in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates). Clearly, part of the solution to this problem lies with consumers (or those purchasing on behalf of consumers such as parents of young children) being able to make informed decisions about what products to buy to maintain healthy levels of sugar consumption. However, food product labeling, as adopted in most Western countries, does not allow products that conform to the WHO recommendations to be clearly distinguished from products that do not. In answer to this, a newly established SME in the East of England, working with a network of food analytical laboratories and nutritional experts, has established a certification system and advisory service for food product manufacturers and developers. An instantly recognisable “mark” has been devised as part of the service which can be carried by food products that have been submitted for certification and assessed as conforming to the WHO recommendation, i.e. that less than 5% of the total calorific value of the product is derived from free sugars. This will enable manufacturers of such healthy products to be able to clearly identify those products and help consumers make the informed choices needed to minimise the risk of obesity and diabetes. An advisory service is also available to give guidance as to how the manufacturers might modify their product recipes to conform to the WHO recommendations. This certification system has already attracted considerable interest from national media, having been featured in UK national television news programmes (BBC and Sky News) and in the press (national and trade). It has also attracted interest from several major super market retail chains in the UK. Interest is also growing in other countries such as France, Italy, USA and China. Therefore it is quickly becoming established as an internationally recognisable symbol for healthy food products. The SME wishes to expand this service to ensure that consumers across Europe and beyond have a clear choice of food products identified as conforming to the WHO recommendations on free sugars content. Therefore it seeks food manufacturing partners and food product development agencies to engage through services agreements and have their products submitted for certification. It also seeks other organisations to help it increase the geographical reach of this certification system through possible franchise agency or commercial agency agreements.
Innovations and advantages
• Certification aligned with the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommendations on free sugar consumption gives consumers clear information enabling them to regulate their intake to prevent potential health problems. • Certification based on accredited and authoritative assessment provides purchasers confidence in knowing that the products displaying the mark genuinely meet the WHO recommendations. • An instantly recognisable mark that enables manufacturers to demonstrate the conformance of their products to WHO recommendations. • Authoritative advice that helps manufacturers develop new products or modify existing products to conform with WHO recommendations on free sugar content.
Current stage of development
The service has recently launched and is attracting considerable interest from early stage adopter UK manufacturers, major supermarket retailers in the UK and from some other countries. The SME wishes to expand the service and engage many more food product manufacturers from across Europe.
08001002 Food Additives/Ingredients/Functional Food
08001005 Food Technology
Market application codes
07003002 Health food
07003003 Soft drinks and bottling plants
Intellectual property rights
Comments, number and date of patent
An application for a European trade mark has been made under Class 35. It is anticipated that this trade mark will be granted by the end of March 2016.
Area of partner's activity
Food product manufacturers and developers who wish to offer consumers, products clearly demonstrating conformance to WHO free sugars’ recommendations are invited to enter into services agreements for product certification and advice. Other organisations wishing either to offer such a certification and advice service within their geographical locality or represent this service are invited to enter into franchise agency or commercial agency agreements.