EU REformulation MOnitoring (EUREMO) was a feasibility study for a monitoring system on reformulation initiatives for salt, sugars and fat. EUREMO developed and tested a monitoring process for assessing the impact of reformulation initiatives on a range of ‘nutrients of interest/concern’ by collecting primary data on the composition of over 45,000 processed food and drink products available for purchase by the general public in 16 European countries. In addition, the EUREMO study provided support to national public authorities to implement reformulation initiatives by organising workshops, twinning actions and scientific and technical support to reformulation initiatives.
All information below are coming from the EUREMO final report.
EUREMO was coordinated by ICF.
The objectives of the EUREMO study are twofold:
- Objective 1 – Develop and test a monitoring system for assessing the impact of reformulation initiatives on salt, sugar and fat.
- Systematically collect nutritional information on processed food and drink products available for purchase by the general public in selected European countries and record the data in an interoperable dataset.
- Objective 2 – Provide support to national public authorities to implement reformulation initiatives.
- Workshops for countries with little experience in reformulation initiatives, but who have the capacity to organise and pursue national initiatives.
- Twinning actions for countries who can benefit from learning about an initiative in another country, either because they are planning a similar initiative or because they face similar challenges.
- Scientific and technical support to help countries to draft or implement reformulation initiatives.
The development of a monitoring system involved creating a nutrition composition database with information on processed food and drink products collected across European countries which can be used as a tool to monitor the effectiveness of implemented reformulation initiatives on product composition.
The monitoring system covers selected countries and product categories as follows:
- Sixteen European countries (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Malta, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and the United Kingdom).
- Fourteen product categories (sugar-sweetened beverages; sugar-sweetened dairy and dairy imitates; breakfast cereals; bread and bread products; confectionary; cakes and biscuits; ready meals and soups; savoury snacks and crisps; sauces and condiments; sugar-sweetened desserts, ice cream; canned fruits and vegetables; meat and fish products; cheeses; and energy drinks and sport drinks).
Market research data was used to define a sample that:
- Covers at least 50% of the market share in each country.
- Provides a representative baseline within each country for the evaluation of nutritional composition.
Product information/data was collected primarily within supermarkets to ensure the comprehensive coverage of selected subcategories.
Additional steps as part of the definition of the sample included:
- Defining the product subcategories – the starting point was the nomenclature used in the JANPA study (‘Oqali’) which was then amended to reflect the pan-European nature of the study and improvements to Oqali since JANPA.
- Selecting the product subcategories to be covered in the study – the subcategories selected for the sample were those that, together, constituted a minimum 50% of the market share for that product category.
- Selecting sample retailers – locations for data collection were chosen for each country based on retailer market share information.
The data collection task involved several key steps:
- Negotiating with retailers – retailers in each country were approached to determine whether they could share existing product information or whether they would grant the study team access to one of their stores for data collection.
- Recruiting/training fieldworkers – fieldworkers were recruited before being trained and onboarded for use of the phone app to collect data.
- Collecting data – this was primarily done via visits to retailers, but in some cases because of Covid-19 (which restricted access to some supermarkets in some countries), the products had to be purchased from retailers, and in two cases retailers provided partial/full data.
The next step in the methodology involved extracting accurate information from the photos taken during the data collection task so that it can be entered into the database of food composition data. The task therefore involved entry of the data and verification that the data was accurate.
The process for conducting checks involved adherence to several sequential and consistent steps outlined in a data cleaning and quality assurance protocol, a copy of which can be found in an annex of the final report.
The Terms of Reference (ToR) for the EUREMO study specified that “The methods used for this data collection shall be based on the methodology being developed and tested by JANPA and respective lessons learned.” In practice, this meant that this study should use a product nomenclature/categorisation that was consistent with that used for JANPA, which was the Oqali nomenclature.
In practice, Oqali was amended to reflect the pan-European nature of the study and improvements to Oqali since JANPA. It was agreed that the Best ReMaP nomenclature – which constitutes an ‘amended Oqali’ – was the most appropriate nomenclature to classify the EUREMO data against.
This nomenclature was the ‘endpoint’ to focus on (in terms of data analysis and reporting), but data collection involved different nomenclature. In terms of the nomenclature used for the collection of data:
- Global Data product categories/subcategories were used to identify which product subcategories in a given country represented at least 50% of sales in a given product category.
- Global Data product categories/subcategories were then mapped to a more detailed set of EUREMO product categories/subcategories (to guide fieldwork in practice and how fieldworkers should categorise products).
- These EUREMO product categories/subcategories were then mapped to the Oqali product categories/ subcategories and a set of Oqali amended product categories/subcategories.
In terms of the nomenclature used for analysing and reporting the data:
- EUREMO product categories/subcategories were mapped to the Best ReMaP nomenclature.
- Data were then reclassified based on: (a) a manual reclassification process (for more complex data); and (b) an automated reclassification process (for less complex data) based on rules/procedures
European Commission, European Health and Digital Executive Agency, EU REformulation MOnitoring (EUREMO) – Feasibility study for a monitoring system on reformulation initiatives for salt, sugars and fat : final report, Publications Office of the European Union, 2022, https://data.europa.eu/doi/10.2925/308861
EUREMO in FABLE
FABLE is hosting the data collected as part of EUREMO. This includes more than 45,000 packaged food and beverage products in 16 countries in Europe.