Despite intense lobbying from supplier and retailer representatives, bureaucrats in Brussels last week agreed the contents of the Provision of Food Information to Consumers Directive, which is expected to be rubberstamped by the EU parliament on 5 July.
Under the proposals, brand owners will be forced to include minimum font sizes. Products will have to have labelling with a minimum font size of 1.2mm on labels.
Products where the largest face is 80cm squared or less will have to have a minimum font of 0.9mm. Industry leaders warned that retailers would have to redesign packs for tens of thousands of products.
Stuart Shotton, consultancy services director at adviser FoodChain Europe, said brands faced costs of up to £7,000 per product to redesign labels.
"Inevitably these costs will be passed on to the consumer, and at a time when food prices are on the up," he said.
Companies will have three years to meet the requirements but the long shelf life of many products means redesigns will have to begin soon.