United States exporters of composite products have new documentary requirements for shipments to the European Union after January 15, 2022. The new requirements are broken down into three categories of composite products: non-shelf stable, shelf stable with meat, and shelf stable without meat. A new mandatory U.S. government-issued export certificate is needed for all non-shelf stable composite products and for shelf-stable composite products containing meat (except gelatin, collagen, and highly refined products derived from meat).
The European Commission is slated to launch its Green Claims initiative in March. The initiative, designed to reduce greenwashing, is expected to require companies to use the Product Environmental Footprint method for environmental claims. France has been a leader in labeling initiatives with its Climate Resilience Law, which will eventually mandate ecological labeling for food and textiles.
A USDA GAIN report found that interest in health during the pandemic bumped up sales of organic products in the European Union. “COVID-19 Boosts Organic Food Sales in the EU” suggests that US importers look to organic products with products where there is no local or regionally produced alternative for good prospects.
Per capita disposable income in China is up 9.1 percent in 2021, to reach 35,128 Yuan. Spending on food, tobacco and alcohol was 7178 per capita that year, an increase of 12 percent, and totally 29.8 percent of the per capita consumption expenditure.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office provided final trademark approval for the USDA Organic seal, giving US Customs and Boarder Protection additional leverage to seize and destroy shipments when fraudulent claims have been made. Over the next few months, the National Organic Program will work with accredited certifiers and federal enforcement officials to put this new authority to use.
Korea’s National Agricultural Products Quality Management Service (NAQS) has new documentation requirements for US imported organic foods. Processed organic products covered by the terms of the U.S. – Korea organic equivalency agreement may be exported to Korea if they are accompanied by both a NAQS Import Certificate of Organic Processed Foods issued by NOP-accredited certifying agents and a copy of the NOP organic certificate. All US. organic certifying agents are now required to register with NAQS to issue the Import Certificate electronically. Paper-based certificates are no longer accepted. Certifying agents should issue documents via the electronic system and send printed certificates to exporters/importers through postal mail. Importers must present the printed certificate to the Korean authorities upon product arrival.
Food Navigator Asia identified organic children’s snacks as a food trend to watch in 2022. Australian snack brand Whole Kids is targeting South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, and Hong Kong, in part due to parents’ interest in health and wellness, along with birth rates and concern about the planet. Other trends in Asia the online magazine identified include turning food production waste into useful products, and natural energy drinks.
The European Union intends to revise its the Food Information to Consumers Regulation. The changes will impact front-of-pack nutrition labeling, nutrient profiling criteria to restrict claims, origin labeling, date marking, and alcoholic beverages labeling. US stakeholders who would like to comment can do so online before March 7, 2022.
Singapore’s new Nutri-Grade system for beverages will likely be implemented at the end of 2022. As part of the system, beverages with lowest sugar and saturated fat will be Grade A, and those with the highest levels will be Grade D. The system imposes limits on advertising for Grade D products.
By March 31, 2022, food and beverage manufacturing companies must remove the use of “synthetic” and “artificial” terms on their products’ ingredients lists. The terms are typically associated with additives such as sweeteners, colors, preservatives, flavorings and fragrances. Information about additive ingredients can be elsewhere on the label, however.
New requirements for registration of foreign food producers that are allowed to export food to China changed January 1. China’s Order No. 248 expanded the scope of food products subject to registration requirements to all foreign made food products. New labeling rules require all food products imported into China to include the registration number on the label of the inner and outer packaging of the food products.
The Prairie Organic Development Fund will receive up to $297,330 (Canadian) to support adoption of best practices in organic farming production. Both existing and new organic farms can benefit from the education and training programs. In addition, the government of Canada will invest over $550 million (Canadian) in new programming to enhance sustainability and mitigate climate change.
Indonesia plans to introduce new trade controls on imported processed foods, including an updated application process and mandatory shelf-life requirements.
Chinese consumers are paying more attention to the effects of snacking on their health and are looking for better choices. One brand, ffit8, cracked the market by targeting young people and developing flavors and textures that appeal to Chinese tastes and lifestyles.
India’s Food Safety and Standards Authority (FSSAI) approved hemp seeds and related products for use as food, opening the door to a variety of foods beyond powders, seeds, and oil.
The European Union will shift its some of its farm subsidies to support farming practices that protect the environment and reduce agricultural sources of greenhouse gasses. Reuters reports the Common Agricultural Policy will require that 20% of payments to farmers from 2023-2024 be spent on "eco-schemes", rising to 25% of payments in 2025-2027. At least 10% of CAP funds will go to smaller farms and all farmers' payments would be tied to complying with environmental rules. The CAP is valued at about US$436 billion in the EU’s 2021-2027 budget.
In a newly created position, Travis Wells will serve as the Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS) Protection Officer North America. He will be identifying and advising companies that are making unsubstantiated claims regarding GOTS signage. A GOTS claim on finished products guarantees the consumer that every single step in the textile processing supply chain was certified. As soon as one stage in the supply chain is not certified, a company may not label or mention GOTS on their final product.
Organic recertification efforts in India face some challenges, especially for clients of five certification organizations that were recently blacklisted by the European Union for failing to meet regulatory standards. The Indian Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) issued a year-long suspension of OneCert International, and stopped CU Inspections India Pvt Ltd, ECOCERT India Pvt Ltd, Indian Organic Certification Agency, Aditi Organic Certifications Pvt Ltd from registering new processors or organic product exporters. The US National Organic Program requires that organic operations in India wishing to sell in the United States recertify through an NOP-recognized program by July 12, 2022.
A new strategic plan from Organics Aotearoa New Zealand (OANZ) aims to contribute a cumulative NZ$4.7 billion to New Zealand's GDP by 2030 while reducing climate and environmental pollution. Key components of the strategy include uplifting indigenous food production methods; addressing big environmental issues by building soil fertility, reversing ecosystem damage, sequestering carbon, and providing habitat for threatened species; advocating for the implementation of the Organic Products Bill; and improving access to international markets. Fifty-eight percent of New Zealand’s organic production is exported, primarily to the US, China, Europe, Australia and Japan. New Zealand’s organics market was worth NZ$723 million in 2020, compared to NZ$600 million in 2017, with an average growth rate of 6.4 percent per year over those three years. Global sales grew at around 9 percent per year in the same timeframe. Organic dairy is the largest organic sector for New Zealand, with exports of NZ$153.8 million, up 55 percent from 2017.
New standards for the use of recycled materials for food packaging provide detailed requirements based on the type of synthetic resin material and if the material contacts the food in any point during manufacturing and processing. The standards also cover active/intelligent packaging that removes or alleviates factors that degrade food quality. The country intends to cut plastic waste production in half by 2030, and double recycling rates from 34 percent to 70 percent.