The ‘U-Label’ platform has been created via a collaboration between CEEV (Comité Européen des Entreprises Vins) and SpiritsEUROPE.
The platform uses QR technology to allow consumers to find information in any of the EU’s 24 official languages ‘at the click of a button’.
The tech is currently in a pilot phase with 16 companies trialling the platform across different countries, products and sizes. The companies involved in the trial include Absolut Vodka; Remy Cointreau; GH Mumm and Taittinger Champagne.
From November 1, it will be open to all wine and spirits companies of any size.
Spirits, as alcoholic beverages above 1.2% ABV, are exempted from the general rule under the Food Information to Consumers (FIC) Regulation to provide nutrition information and ingredient listing on the label of foodstuffs.
However, there has been a broad move towards providing consumers with more information and increased transparency.
SpiritsEUROPE had previously pledged to provide information on the nutrition and ingredients of all spirits sold in the EU by the end of 2022 (online and/or offline).
The U-Label program will see them publish basic product characteristics name, image, product category, ABV, net quantity) alongside extra information such as nutrition declaration per portion (and 100ml for spirits), other health warning pictograms or messages, sustainability certificates and recycling information as well as basic information about the company (name, logo and website).
“The European spirits industry already committed to providing energy information on label and ingredient information online in its 2019 MoU on Consumer Information, and we are meeting the targets we set then”, said Ulrich Adam, SpiritsEUROPE Director General, “Consumers want comprehensive information at their digital fingertips. This is what we are providing voluntary through U-LABEL. We call on the European Commission to follow suit and set standards for digital labelling across product types, not to substitute but to complement on-pack information with what consumers are looking for.”
For the wine sector, new specific labelling rules applicable to wine and aromatised wine products will be adopted by the EU institutions in fall 2021, in the framework of the reform of the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
The U-Label will provide wine brands with a way of presenting the mandatory indications imposed by EU legislation and some voluntary indications that the company may decide to add or not.
Mandatory indications include basic product characteristics (name, image, product category, country of provenance), the list of ingredients, the nutritional declaration per 100ml, a pictogram warning against drinking during pregnancy and a generic message about responsible consumption
The e-label does not contain any type of marketing information and users of the e-label will not receive targeted advertisements after scanning QR-codes generated with the U-Label platform.
“Today’s consumers expect more transparency on the products they consume, and digital labelling can respond to this demand by boosting the information that companies share with their consumers, without changing the appearance of the packaging”, said Jean-Marie Barillère, President of CEEV.