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The European Fruit Juice Association (AIJN) welcomes the approval by the European Parliament of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR).

Aimed at addressing pressing sustainability concerns surrounding packaging materials, and especially waste, within the European Union, the outcome of the vote reflects a careful equilibrium between environmental imperatives and industry considerations.

The Agreement found between the EU Council and EU Parliament negotiators, adopted now by the EU Parliament represents a significant departure from the initial proposal put forth by the EU Commission. Regarding reuse for example, where the initial draft outlined specific non-alcoholic beverages subject to reuse targets, the text approved by the EU Parliament adopts a more encompassing and equitable approach. Under the revised PPWR, a single reuse target now applies to all beverages, whether they are alcoholic or non-alcoholic. This shift eliminates the need for a predefined list of products, thus ensuring that no item is excluded from the sustainability mandate (except for a few exemptions which are explicitly justified within the text).

Another important aspect of the outcome of the negotiation is the redistribution of responsibility for meeting these reuse targets. Unlike the original Commission’s proposal, which placed the burden both on manufacturers and final distributors, the version of the Regulation approved by the EU Parliament assigns responsibility to final distributors.

Specifically, the Regulation mandates that distributors making alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages available on the market within a Member State must ensure that at least 10 % of these products are offered in reusable packaging within a system designed for re-use. This change will enable greater flexibility for all actors in delivering products in reusable packaging.

Moreover, the new target set for reuse represents a first step towards promoting circular economy principles within the packaging industry, all while acknowledging the industry’s needs. With a target of 10 % by 2030 and an indicative target for 2040, actors across the value chain, including consumers all around Europe, can adapt to increasing levels of reusable packaging and reuse systems. This ensures that the transition is mindful of the practical realities and requirements of businesses within the sector. This balanced approach promotes a steady transition towards a more circular economy, where resources are conserved, waste is minimized, and environmental impact is reduced. By January 1, 2034, the Commission will review the implementation of the 2030 targets, considering technological advancements and practical experiences. This assessment will evaluate the effectiveness of the targets in fostering sustainable packaging, feasibility of achieving 2040 targets, relevance of exemptions, conduct life-cycle assessments of single-use and reusable packaging and assess the need for setting new targets for the reuse and refill of other packaging categories. This review mechanism allows for adjustments based on results and real practices, ensuring that future ambitions for 2040 are informed by concrete evidence and practical experience.

Finally, the approval of PPWR underscores the critical role of packaging in preserving product freshness and quality while minimizing environmental impact. It highlights the imperative for sustainable packaging solutions that reconcile ecological stewardship with operational efficiency. In recognition of the unique challenges faced by highly perishable beverages, they are exempted from meeting this targets in the Regulation includes exemptions for such items.

AIJN believe the European Parliament’s vote on the PPWR reflects a balanced and pragmatic approach that seeks to reconcile environmental goals with the operational realities of the industry. As the Regulation progresses towards implementation, AIJN is willing and ready to engage in ongoing dialogue and collaboration to ensure effective compliance and meaningful progress towards a more sustainable future.

The European Fruit Juice Association (AIJN) announced that the EU Parliament has approved the Revision of the Fruit Juice Directive, marking an important step in the development of the fruit juice and nectar industry.

The Association welcomes the Revision of the EU marketing standards for the so-called ‘breakfast’ directives, aimed at bolstering existing marketing standards related to honey, fruit juices, jams, and milk. Specifically, the revision of the Fruit Juice Directive, in force as such since 2012, represents a step forward, bringing the directive in line with contemporary concerns and industry demands. Throughout this process, AIJN has actively collaborated with EU institutions to ensure comprehensive consideration and representation of industry perspectives.

Serving as the cornerstone of meticulous legislation, the European Fruit Juice Directive ensures the highest standards of safety and quality for fruit juices, while also offering comprehensive information to consumers across Europe regarding the composition, nature, and authorised processing methods of fruit juices.

The latest revision address several aspects and bring great innovation to the sector:

  • Introduction of the reduced-sugars fruit juice category: We welcome the introduction of the new category of “reduced-sugars fruit juices”, in line with the objectives of the Farm to Fork strategy, offering more choice of products for consumers. More specifically, three products are added, “reduced-sugar fruit juices”, “reduced sugar fruit juices from concentrate” and “concentrated reduced sugar fruit juices”. Future products can only be called “reduced sugar fruit juice” if at least 30 % of the natural sugars have been removed and they maintain the essential characteristics of the fruit juice from which they come.
  • Information on sugar content: In Europe, consumers may not always be aware that fruit juices do not contain added sugars. Both institutions agreed that additional transparency is needed. To this effect, they have allowed industry to use the voluntary statement that “fruit juices contain only naturally occurring sugars”.
  • Inclusion of coconut juice: Reflecting the evolving market trends and consumer preferences, coconut has been included in the Directive’s Annex V, accompanied by a specified Brix level of 4.5. Additionally, coconut water is acknowledged as synonymous with coconut juice.

Authorisation of additional substances for clarification: The directive now accommodates the use of plant proteins derived from wheat, peas, potatoes, and sunflower seeds for fruit juice clarification, ensuring alignment with contemporary practices.

While AIJN wait for the formal adoption at the Council and the Directive’s entry into force, it is foreseen that the European Commission will be tasked with elaborating a Delegated Act on Reduced-Sugar Fruit Juices, examining the feasibility of origin labelling of the fruits used in fruit juices, and developing implementing acts for fruit juice analysis methods.

In response to these endeavours, AIJN reaffirms its dedication to responsible collaboration, advocating for policies that prioritise consumer health and sustainability in the industry.

The AIJN (European Fruit Juice Association) announced a change in the Presidency. Javier Lorenzo Benavides, CEO of Eckes-Granini Ibérica, representative of the Spanish Fruit Juice Federation, member of the AIJN Board of Directors since April 2016, took over the Presidency on 1 January 2024 for a two-year term. Javier was born in Madrid in 1962. He has a degree in Psychology and a Postgraduate Degree in Psychology for Industrial and Business Organisations. He has been working in the consumer goods industry for more than 30 years. He worked throughout his professional career in companies such as P&G, Gillette and Reckitt Benckiser before joining Eckes-Granini in 2011.

The position of treasurer has also been handed over. Thomas Brandstaetter, current Managing Director of the company Zipperle and representative of the Italian Fruit Juice Association has taken over from Thomas Mertens from the German Fruit Juice Association.

AIJN joined forces with NMWE, UNESDA, the Changing Markets Foundation and Zero Waste Europe to call on EU decision-makers to create the right enabling policy framework and help our industries accelerate the transition to a circular economy.

AIJN, together with Europe’s non-alcoholic beverage industry represented by Natural Mineral Waters Europe (NMWE) and UNESDA Soft Drinks Europe, and leading NGOs, including Changing Markets Foundation and Zero Waste Europe, call on EU decision-makers to create the right enabling policy framework to help accelerate the transition to a circular economy in Europe. Our organisations underline the need to ensure resource-efficient waste management systems to enable close-loop recycling. We also call for a “priority access”, or a similar mechanism that guarantees a “right of first refusal” to beverage producers to facilitate their fair access to the food-grade recycled materials coming from the products they placed on the market and which were successfully collected.

The EU Circular Economy Action Plan has the ambition of accelerating the transition to a circular economy. This will require significant changes in the way we collect, reuse, recycle and incorporate recycled materials. Achieving fully closed and resource-efficient waste management systems for all materials should be the primary objective. The more closed-loop a system is, the more resource efficient it will be by delivering quality recycled materials which can be re-used multiple times for the same application. Therefore, for each sector, the ultimate goal should be to achieve «closed-loop recycling». With the right enabling policy framework this can be achieved.

Read the recommendations here and see the position paper attached below as well.

The non-alcoholic beverage industry, represented by the European Fruit Juice Association (AIJN), Natural Mineral Waters Europe (NMWE) and UNESDA Soft Drinks Europe, calls on the European Commission for “priority access” to its recycled plastic (PET) material, or a similar mechanism that guarantees “right of first refusal”, to be incorporated in the upcoming revision of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive.

As the beverage industry continues to invest in circularity and to put highly recyclable PET on the market, it needs to have priority access to its own recycled packaging material. This will help the beverage industry produce new packaging with food-grade recycled PET compliant with EU food safety standards, achieve its recycling targets and prevent its recycled PET being downcycled. Closing the bottle loop is required to ensure that the beverage industry meets the Single Use Plastics Directive (SUPD) targets and contributes to building a more circular economy for beverage packaging.

Wouter Lox, Secretary General of the European Fruit Juice Association (AIJN), commented: ‘’Food packaging serves specific needs, but most importantly is to safeguard the food products quality, conserves the food and assures food product safety. Also every food product has its specific packaging material properties and requirements in order to assure the packaging purpose. The access to the packaging material is essential to continue providing high quality and safe foods. This requirement needs to be merged with the sector commitments to respond to the EU Green Deal and the Circular Economy Action Plan. Therefore the access to the recycled material responding to the highest food quality standards needs to be reassured at every stage of the circularity circle.’’

Patricia Fosselard, Secretary General of Natural Mineral Waters Europe, stated: “Thanks to significant investments in collection schemes and in eco-design, PET bottles have become the most collected and recycled items around Europe. Through well-designed Deposit Return Schemes, several countries already achieve collection rates above 90%. Our members are determined to give every bottle a second life, but they can only do this if they get back the material that they place on the market so we can successfully close the loop.”

Nicholas Hodac, Director General of UNESDA, added: ‘’The entire beverage industry in Europe is fully supportive of the EU Green Deal and Circular Economy Action Plan and is committed to delivering full circularity for PET bottles. To get there, we need the European Commission to allow us to have priority access to our own recycled plastic material to meet our EU recycling obligations and avoid downcycling, which will break the bottle loop. It is just fair that we regain the equivalent quantity of collected and recycled material that we place on the market to move circularity forward.’’

The beverage industry is subject to several mandatory requirements under SUPD, one of which is that PET in bottles has to be food-grade to comply with EU food safety standards. In addition to introducing mandatory collection targets for PET bottles, SUPD also mandates the beverage industry to use a minimum of 25 % (by 2025) and 30 % (by 2030) of recycled content. The beverage industry’s commitment is not only to achieve these EU targets, but also to go much further by creating a closed loop for its PET bottles. Granting the beverage industry fair access to the amount of PET plastic material that it puts on the market and of which it finances the collection is key to promote effective bottle-to-bottle recycling.

The organisers of the Juice Summit announced the postponement of the Juice Summit 2020 organised for the 14 & 15 October 2020 in Antwerp, Belgium.

The Juice Summit will come back in 2021 for a special edition. Information will be given in due time, but you can already save the date 6&7 October 2021.

The conference provides a genuine and dynamic forum for all industry players and their suppliers

Antwerp, Belgium – 1&2 October 2019 – Hilton Antwerp 4

Organised by AIJN, IFU and SGF, the Juice Summit is now a global, annual conference which guarantees the presence of renowned industry leaders and experts of the European and international juice industries. Over the years it has become a key conference delivering exceptional insights in important topical dossiers as well as providing a unique networking opportunity.

The Summit is a two-day conference with presentations and panel discussions covering a wide variety of topical issues which determine the business environment of today, as well as challenges for tomorrow. The speakers and panelists will also share their understanding and vision of the future for the fruit juice industry with participants. Key policy fields like CSR, health and nutrition as well as insights on global market developments will be on the programme. This year the organiser have the honor of having 3 prominent keynote speakers :

  • James Quincey, CEO & President of Coca Cola
  • Prof Jan Rotmans from Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam
  • And Marius Robles, Co-Founder of FOOD BY ROBOTS

With over 550 participants from over 40 countries, the conference takes place in the most exclusive venues in Antwerp. All practical information and registration process can be found via the following link : www.juicesummit.org

The Sustainable Foods Summit will focus on health impacts, sustainable ingredients and green marketing. For the tenth consecutive year, the European edition of this executive summit will be hosted in Amsterdam, on 7-8th June.

The Sustainable Ingredients session will feature raw materials with ecological/societal credentials. The growing use of food ingredients from side streams will be discussed, whilst other speakers will give an update on sustainable palm oil and natural flavourings. Norbert Schmitz from Global Risk Assessment Services will explain how food companies can develop sustainable and deforestation-free supply chains for their ingredients. Piet Haasen from the Sustainable Juice Covenant will show how the juice industry is mitigating supply chain risks and encouraging sustainable juice production.

The Sustainable Juice Covenant (SJC) is a global initiative to make the sourcing, production and trade of fruit- and vegetable-derived juices, purees and their concentrates 100 % sustainable by 2030.
Coordinated by IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative, and committed to by leading beverage companies, the covenant is a moral, not a legal, obligation. Enabling private sector companies to make proactive, non-competitive improvements across the juice industry supply chain – from raw materials to consumer-based products such as drinks, nectars, juices and smoothies.

With the support of AIJN, the European Fruit Juice Association, the companies work together to increase social and environmental sustainability at farm and processing level by rolling out sustainability certifications throughout the supply chain. Globally, fruit juice and nectar consumption is at 38,5 billion liters – and 9,6 billion liters in the EU, the biggest consumption region. As the market grows, they recognize that sustainability is the way forward for the juice industry.