Senior executives from companies as diverse as Nestlé, Barilla, Danone, Heinz and Unilever have called on the European Commission to think seriously about the role brands can play in boosting economic growth.

In a letter sent to EU enterprise commissioner Günter Verheugen on April 26, the food companies - together with other consumer goods brand owners form the European Brands Association, known as AIM - call for a greater understanding of how brands benefit consumers and the economy.
 
Some 48% of European exports are from upmarket branded goods, they claims, while marketing expenditure on European brands is more than EUR174bn (US$185.59bn), supporting European media, sports, arts and entertainment.

Brand owners are also among the biggest employers in the EU - more than 1.6 million people work for brand owners in Germany alone.

AIM is calling on Brussels to take this into account when deliberating on future policies such as innovation, intellectual property, consumer protection and competition.

The German commissioner appears to have taken their comments on board.

"Verheugen agreed to a dialogue with us and spoke most supportively of innovation, brands and growth," AIM spokesman, Philip Sheppard, told just-food.

"We interpret this as sending out a political signal of affirmation. The next steps are working with the commission's services to make it happen."