South Africa operates within a robust regulatory framework. Over the years, the regulations that have impacted the FMCG industry have become more prolific. Government uses regulation as a mechanism to manage public health, societal issues and environmental sustainability. Violating regulations, whether they are regulations that govern the ingredients we use, how we disclose nutritional information on our labelling, what we communicate on our product packaging, or how brands and companies advertise certain products to children, all have major legal and reputational repercussions.
When it comes to regulatory compliance, the law is very clear – we have to comply! So our ability to engage with regulators before the regulation comes into effect is critical. Two critical pieces of legislation that have made headlines recently are the salt reduction regulation, and the sugar tax. The sodium (salt) reduction regulation (R.214), which was published by the Department of Health in March 2013, came into effect on the 30th of June 2016. All foods that were identified by the regulation had to comply with the lowered sodium levels by this date. The South African government introduced these changes to sodium in response to the increasing rate of high-blood pressure among South Africans. Tiger Brands has been proactively involved in reformulating these products to comply with the regulations. There are no maximum limits for sugar on products like there are for salt, but there is a proposed tax for sweetened beverages. National Treasury, who proposed the tax, believes that that the tax will help reduce obesity in South Africa by making sweetened beverages more expensive to consumers. As a responsible corporate citizen, we have to comply with regulation. This is part of our values and the Code of Ethics we prescribe to. In terms of salt regulations, it will affect the composition or formulation of the product as well as the packaging because the correct sodium level needs to be declared. We also need to change our packaging to declare the correct information on the pack.
Tiger Brands has voluntarily taken the initiative to have all products include the Guideline Daily Amount (GDA) on packaging.
“Tiger Brands is a responsible company, therefore we put our consumers first and always ensure compliance to regulations. We are a willing partner for the betterment and augmentation of the health of South Africans.”, Renusha Chanda – Tiger brands Group Regulatory Affairs Manager
Interview extract with: Renusha Chanda – Tiger brands Group Regulatory Affairs Manager