Raisio, the Finnish food group, today (16 April) insisted that consumer demand for more information on the environmental impact of the food they buy was behind the company’s move to add H2O labelling to a cereal product.

The Benecol maker announced yesterday that it has added a H2O label to its Elovena oat flakes, indicating the amount of water used in making the product.

The label is designed to indicate the product’s water footprint throughout the production chain – “from the field to the ready, packaged product”, the company said.

The new labels will appear on Elovena oat flakes packages “in the coming weeks”, a Raisio spokesperson said today.

The spokesperson said it was “not easy to calculate” the cost of developing the label but said Finnish consumers are demanding more information from food makers on such issues as water usage and carbon footprint.

Last year, Raisio introduced a label on to its Elovena oat flakes packages to indicate the amount of carbon dioxide used in making the products.

“People want to know the environmental impact of food and want to make environmentally sustainable choices. People need information,” she told just-food. “If they find that the label gives the information they need, Raisio will add the label to other products as well.”

The spokesperson added that Raisio hopes its manufacturing peers would add similar H2O labels to their products.

“Clean, drinkable water is becoming a scarce resource worldwide and the lack of water affects all of us directly or indirectly. At Raisio, we hope that companies would start to calculate the total water consumption of their products and add that information to packages,” she said.