Clearer labelling needed on ice cream packaging

Hamburg calls for comparable data nationwide after study by consumer advice centre
09 October 2020
Eis am Elbstrand

Ice cream manufacturers should indicate weight instead of volume on labels and should be comparable across Germany, according to the senate in Hamburg. Ice cream sold in supermarkets is often whipped up with air and contains additives such as stabilizers. However, the air content is not indicated on the label. Under an exception to the so-called (German Packaging Ordinance (Fertigungsverpackungsverordnung), ice cream sold in supermarkets is labelled by volume, on which the price is calculated, instead of by weight.

Preventing distortion of price

Anna Gallina, Senator for Consumer Protection, said: "Customers want to know how much ice cream they get for their money. We need honest labelling." Michael Knobloch, a member of the Executive Board of Hamburg's Consumer Advice Centre, pointed out: "The volume of a pack as a reference value distorts the basic price and benefits the ice cream brands' 'air numbers'. We therefore support the initiative of the Hanseatic City of Hamburg for consumer-friendly labelling of ice cream."

Recent test

The consumer advice centre in Hamburg recently investigated the amount of air in six ready made ice cream products. Each weighed between 477 and 870 grams based on a volume of one litre. Based on this test, the ice cream with the most air would actually be more than twice as expensive, if the price were calculated based on weight. Many manufacturers indicate weight in grams on the label. However, consumers cannot compare the actual price per kilogramme of ice cream. This has prompted Hamburg to call for comparable quantities and indications of weight instead of volume on packaging.