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Canned tuna: the importance of label

For Nostromo observatory (Grupo Calvo), 60% of Italians check the expiration date and origin

Two-thirds of canned tuna consumers, especially the youngest, regularly consult labels on the packages, recognizing the importance of the information available. Among these, the expiry date (64%), the origin of the fish (59%), to which women pay more attention, are considered to be the most useful; this is followed by the presence of dyes and preservatives, the name and address of the manufacturer, net weight and storage conditions. These are the data of the new survey carried out by the Ixè Institute for the nutrition and well-being observatory, promoted by Nostromo in collaboration with Andid (National Dietitians Association), dedicated to the role of the label in purchasing choices for preserved fish products.

Information relating to the nutritional properties of this food does not seem to be a priority: in fact, the content of salt is sought only in 19% of cases, of saturated fatty acids in 16% with greater attention from the elderly, and of calories (16% ), more relevant, however, for young people. Almost two thirds (63%) of consumers believe that canned tuna contains preservatives, while with respect to the fat content, consumers are divided: 41% believe that content is low, while 36% think that tuna be rich with it. Focusing on Omega3 fats, one in three Italians say they are well informed and a further 46% know the term but do not have precise information on it. Familiarity with Omega3, greater among the most frequent consumers of canned tuna, is associated with the request to report this information on labels.

Andid underlines "A clear and detailed label is the basis of correct information to consumers, to make their food choices consciously. In particular, the traceability system represents an added value that allows us to know the origins of the tuna purchased. There is still a gap in the field of nutrition, perhaps deriving from the excess of information not all coming from accredited sources. The observatory, as a scientific dissemination project, has tried to fill this gap by highlighting one of the aims of the Association, that is to spread messages for a correct and sustainable diet for an ever wider segment of the population".

As for the origin of the raw material only half of consumers believe they know where canned tuna is caught. A perception that in many cases turns out to be incorrect, with 34% of respondents indicating Europe, 12% of which Italy, 19% of the sample indicates instead an ocean, primarily the Atlantic (10%), while 10% countries or areas of Asia. "The label is confirmed as a fundamental communication tool between company and consumer", underlines Giulia Bizzarri , marketing manager Nostromo (Calvo Group). "However, the research data shows that there is still ample room to enhance a product such as canned tuna, sharing the advantages of its characteristics as regards nutrients, absence of preservatives, quantity of salt, but also information regarding the areas of origin of the raw material and the fishing and production methods of the different brands. In this regard, the Nostromo traceability system thanks to the information on the packaging labels, it allows you to know all the data relating to the origin of the tuna purchased: species, ocean and FAO fishing area, boat, times and fishing methods. A choice of transparency to ensure that the consumer can make an informed purchase decision".

The labels of canned tuna are quite clear and credible with a largely favorable opinion among the interviewees. Greater skepticism characterizes the opinions of older consumers, who have difficulty reading in relation to the use of very small characters on the label, while the most frequent consumers and the central age groups (45% of the sample) are interested in implementation of the Qr code to fully display the characteristics of the tuna in the purchase phase.

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EFA News - European Food Agency