Linked In Food and beverage European sector spotlight - Sedgwick
Food and beverage

European sector spotlight

The Sedgwick brand protection recall index is the essential reference for food and beverage manufacturers seeking impartial and reliable perspective on past, present, and future product recall data and safety trends.

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There was a 25% increase in European food and beverage recall activity in 2021. The prevailing reason was non-bacterial contamination.

The latest edition of our highly coveted product recall index report offers a comprehensive year-in-review of 2021 food and beverage product recall data and trends, and insightful predictions for the remainder of 2022. It is the only report of its kind that aggregates and tracks essential data to help food and beverage business leaders mitigate litigation and reputational damage caused by product recalls and other in-market product incidents.

While we strongly recommend you download and read the whole index, the following excerpt provides a glimpse into the key insights and analysis from the food and beverage sector.

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+25%

more recalls in 2021

4,676

recall events in 2021

947

fruit/vegetable events: most impacted category

The European food and beverage landscape

The food and beverage industry saw a significant amount of activity around labelling and packaging regulations during 2021, specifically with Natasha’s Law officially going into effect in the UK in October. The European Commission also began the process to harmonize food labelling and started work on proposed changes to Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 on providing food information to consumers (FIC Regulation).

Sustainability and environmental concerns were another focus of the food and beverage industry in 2021, with the UK’s Competition and Markets Authorities (CMA) Green Claims Code going live. This code includes six rules designed to help businesses be honest with their customers about their environmental credentials and protect consumers from false or misleading claims. The UK Advertising Standards Authority issued its first sanction over greenwashing – for a claim by an alternative milk company – signalling that regulators will continue to take a stricter view on environmental claims in 2022.

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Recall index report

Get unrivaled analysis and perspective on the latest food and beverage product safety trends and regulation.

Download the report

By the numbers: 2021 European food and beverage recalls

The number of recalls in the food and beverage category rose quarter-over-quarter in 2021, reaching a total of 4,676 for the year, a 25.1% increase over 2020. In 2021, the prevailing reason for recalls in the food and beverage sector was “contamination – other,” with 1,680 events of this nature. Bacterial contamination was the second most common cause across 2021, with 969 recalls in this category.

Germany remained the top country for notifications throughout 2021, with a 46% increase in recalls compared to 2020. Spain saw the second-largest number of recalls in 2021 (with 549), followed by the Netherlands (450), Italy (394), and Belgium (391).

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Recall index report

Get unrivaled analysis and perspective on the latest food and beverage product safety trends and regulation.

Download the report

2022 strategic considerations

While product recall numbers are important, they are only part of the story. Here's what you should take away from food and beverage product safety developments in 2022:

  • At the end of 2021, the European Commission published its public consultation for the proposed changes to FIC Regulation as it seeks to harmonize food labelling. Have you been following the progress of these proposed changes and taking the opportunities to participate in the drafting process? Will your company be prepared to make the changes necessary to comply with any new labelling regulations?
  • With the UK’s Green Claims Code live and a renewed focus on the veracity of environmental claims, additional regulatory action around green claims and greenwashing can be expected. Have you inventoried your environmental claims to ensure they comply with current regulations or could be adapted for future rules? Is your reputation strong enough to stand up to negative coverage about unsupported environmental claims?
Contact us

Recall index report

Get unrivaled analysis and perspective on the latest food and beverage product safety trends and regulation.

Download the report

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Whether you’re planning for — or currently facing — a product recall, market withdrawal or any other in-market product incident, our experts are on hand to support you.

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