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Valentine’s hearts at risk? German confectionery association “extremely concerned” about EU PPWR plans

#Valentine’s hearts at risk? German confectionery association “extremely concerned” about EU PPWR plans

13 Feb 2024 — The Federal Association of the German Confectionery Industry (BDSI) is sounding the alarm over the potential implications of EU’s proposed Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) for seasonal confectionery products. The BDSI warns that the legislation, as currently drafted, could jeopardize iconic treats such as heart-shaped chocolate boxes for Valentine’s Day.

The PPWR draft emphasizes the need to minimize packaging in the future, prompting concerns among confectionery manufacturers about the fate of their traditionally ornate and festive packaging designs. Unlike the EU Parliament’s stance, the European Council’s position does not include exemptions for seasonal products or gift packaging, which consumers have long cherished.

“Article 9 and Annex IV of the PPWR deal with the minimization of packaging. Packaging should be reduced to a minimum in weight and volume, and packaging not necessary to comply with any of the performance criteria set out in Annex IV shall not be placed on the market,” Julia Gisewski, deputy director of the BDSI, explains to Packaging Insights.

“The way it is written now, special forms or presentation of chocolate boxes, bows around chocolate boxes, accessories together with hollow chocolate figures (seasonal products like chocolate Santa or easter bunnies) and other special packaging for special occasions will be forbidden because they do not comply with any of the criteria set in Annex IV.”

“The problem is that consumer acceptance or presentation of the product is not included in the performance criteria of Annex IV. Hence, if the element of the functionality of packaging, consumer acceptance or purpose of the product is disregarded, under performance criteria, gift and seasonal packaging will no longer meet its intended purpose due to the omission of packaging components (for example, bows, ribbons, bells) in order to meet the mandatory minimization,” Gisewski continues.chocolate box decorated with a white flower and ribbonBDSI explains that omitting packaging elements such as bows diminishes the appeal of a confectionery item as a gift.

She warns that such removal could result in a standardization of packaging, on the one hand, and the complete disappearance of certain product categories from the European market, on the other hand. “This is why we support the parliament’s position, which, in addition to the purely protective function of packaging, also considers the special design for special occasions.”

Occasional aesthetics
As political negotiations commence on the PPWR, the BDSI urges policymakers to consider the importance of packaging aesthetics alongside environmental concerns. The outcome of these negotiations will have implications for the future of the confectionery industry in Germany and across the EU bloc.

Dr. Carsten Bernoth, general manager of the BDSI, highlights the importance of packaging aesthetics in enhancing the consumer experience, stating: “By omitting elements such as bows, the appeal of a product as a gift diminishes. It is precisely these unique design features that add value to many popular products.” Bernoth stresses that distinctive elements like bows, bells or decorative motifs are integral to the allure of seasonal confectionery items.

The BDSI aligns with the European Parliament’s position, recognizing the significance of packaging design for special occasions. The association argues that overlooking consumer preferences and packaging functionality could diminish the appeal of gift and seasonal packaging, ultimately eroding consumer satisfaction.

To safeguard occasional packaging and consumer preferences, the BDSI calls for a balanced approach that prioritizes sustainability and preserving cultural and festive traditions.

By Radhika Sikaria

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