Legislation change heralds clearer food labelling in Japan

The October 1 re-designation of 11 classes of chemically modified food starches by the Japanese Ministry of Health Labour and Welfare requires food manufacturers to label these starches as ‘food additives’ rather than food on retail food packaging within 30 months.

National Starch Food Innovation regional vice president, Jeff Laurent, a leading supplier of starch to the food industry, said this change brings Japan into line with global labelling trends.

“The legislation change will provide consumers with greater transparency about the foods they eat and is in line with food labelling in many other countries,” said Laurent. “But its introduction will affect food manufacturers across the region.”

Recent research commissioned by National Starch in Japan indicated strong interest from both consumers and the food industry in food labelling, with consumers in particular becoming increasingly concerned about food safety and the ingredients in their foods.

“We are seeing a trend to more natural, ‘additive free’ foods around the world,” said Laurent.

“Our Japanese research clearly showed that less is more: consumers increasing want foods with fewer ingredients, with names they understand.”

National Starch Food Innovation anticipated the importance of offering ‘clean label ‘starches, launching the Novation range of starches to the Japan market.

This range gives manufacturers a wider choice of starches for a variety of foods while meeting the consumer demand for additive-free foods.

Made from various natural sources such as waxy maize, potato and tapioca, Novation functional starches offer the performance of modified food starches but with the advantage of a ‘no additives’ front-of-pack claim and simple ‘starch’ back-of-pack labelling.

These functional starches can be used in many processed foods including:

  • bento meals,
  • gravies,
  • soups,
  • sauces,
  • dressings,
  • fruit preparations,
  • dairy products, and
  • baby food.
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