The slippery slope of consumer goods regulation

Over the past few years, a series of restrictions on fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) have been imposed across the world, including in several European countries.

Measures include restrictions on advertising and labelling as well as special taxes on products like soft drinks, alcohol, processed food, tobacco and other consumables.

Because of the great variety of FMCG goods, different sectors face both common challenges and issues more specific to their type of activity.

Governments hope these regulations will better protect consumers and change their behaviour. However, some fear this could turn into over-regulation, limiting consumers’ freedom of choice while undermining business.

EURACTIV organised an industry-focused workshop to discuss the way forward for regulating FMCGs. Questions included:
– What are the main regulatory challenges for FMCGs?
– How do we ensure “better” and not “over” regulation for FMCGs? What role for the EU institutions?
– What lessons and good practice can the different FMCGs sectors exchange in regulating their products?
– Can self-regulation and other voluntary agreements be a viable way to regulate the FMCG sector? What other tools and initiatives could be used?
– How can a good balance between freedom of choice and governmental regulation be found? What common ground can be found among the different stakeholders?

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