Consumer Affairs Agency Announcement: Voluntary Introduction of Front-of-Pack Nutrition Labeling on Processed Food Packaging in Japan

Many countries are actively pursuing Front-of-Pack Nutrition Labeling (FOPNL), with attention also drawn to user-friendly systems like Europe’s Nutri-Score in Japan. While voluntary for consumers, it is expected that major manufacturers or large-scale retailers, including prominent brands with significant market share and private-label brands of major retailers, will take the lead.

The Consumer Affairs Agency’s study group, which had been considering the Front-of-Pack Nutrition Labeling (FOPNL) for processed foods, concluded on the 12th that it would introduce it as a voluntary labeling system separate from the mandatory nutrition labeling. The proposed FOPNL would display five nutritional components: calories, protein, fat, carbohydrates, and salt equivalent, along with their respective proportions of the daily recommended intake. Based on this direction, the Consumer Affairs Agency will further examine the details of the system, including its implementation timeline, from the fiscal year 2024 onwards.

The study group highlighted the desirability of FOPNL to facilitate efforts such as maintaining proper weight and reducing salt intake, thus promoting a naturally healthy eating environment. Given that only a few businesses in Japan have voluntarily implemented FOPNL, it is deemed necessary to establish certain rules while positioning it as a voluntary scheme. Standardizing the format and basing the units of measurement on a single serving size are suggested for rule-making.

Currently, processed foods are required to display the values of five nutritional components—calories, protein, fat, carbohydrates, and sodium (expressed as salt equivalent)—primarily on the back of the packaging.

Internationally, there has been an increase in countries adopting FOPNL alongside nutritional labeling to provide clear explanations to consumers on the package’s front. Recognized as a crucial tool in aiding consumers’ healthy food choices, the World Health Organization (WHO) published guidelines on FOPNL in 2019.

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