Be proud of your E numbers

Don't shoot the messenger if the food is bad – it's time to take a stand and spread the knowledge about all the advantages with the system of E-numbers to the consumers.

7 June 2019 •

Sure, the con­sumer is king. But what if they are actu­al­ly wrong, or if they have mis­un­der­stood a whole sys­tem? How do you as a pro­duc­er han­dle that?

E-num­bers clear­ly cause debate, at least among con­sumers. Some refuse to buy prod­ucts if there’s a sin­gle E in the ingre­di­ents’ list. No mat­ter what the fol­low­ing dig­its are. To oth­ers, E-num­bers are a sim­ple way to find out what is what and to avoid cer­tain aller­gens. Some don’t care at all what they eat. Still, it is clear that the knowl­edge of E-num­bers is sketchy at best.

The first ques­tion I usu­al­ly get about Bayn’s prod­ucts from pro­duc­ers in the food and bev­er­age indus­try is almost always: do they con­tain any E-num­bers? Not which E-num­bers, but if there are any. There is a wide-spread fear among pro­duc­ers that the knowl­edge about E-num­bers among con­sumers is not suf­fi­cient. That every E fright­ens them away, one by one. If the ingre­di­ents are from a nat­ur­al source is irrel­e­vant, the E is still an obstacle.

The food and bev­er­age indus­try should instead see it as their respon­si­bil­i­ty to start inform­ing the con­sumers of the advan­tages of the European sys­tem of E-num­bers. Make it clear that the num­bers are a guide to good food and a great help to those who every day need to care­ful­ly read the ingre­di­ents of every­thing they eat. – To fol­low a sys­tem and to do every­thing in one’s pow­er to inform the con­sumer about the con­tent of one’s prod­uct is some­thing to be proud of.

I have seen many fun images go viral which show blue­ber­ries, eggs, a lemon and sev­er­al oth­er fruits with the text “all nat­ur­al”. Followed by a long list of “ingre­di­ents” with sci­en­tif­ic names of acids, colourants and sug­ars. A blue­ber­ry is exact­ly that nat­ur­al, that over ten E-num­bers can be list­ed as “ingre­di­ents”.

Steviol gly­co­sides is the sweet sub­stance that can be extract­ed from the ste­via plant. It is an approved sweet­en­er in the EU and has the E-num­ber 960. You can find this E-num­ber in the ingre­di­ent list of sev­er­al of the Eureba prod­ucts. The E-num­ber shows that it has passed rig­or­ous test­ing and been approved as an ingre­di­ent in the EU. We are proud of that.

So make E-num­bers what they real­ly are: a way to let the con­sumers know exact­ly what they eat. And give them the pos­si­bil­i­ty to choose among foods. There are E-num­bers I’d rather not eat. Or rather, there are prod­ucts filled with unpleas­ant addi­tives I’d rather not eat. And in those cas­es it’s not the E-num­bers’ fault if the food is bad. Don’t shoot the messenger!

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