With the development, many companies decide to introduce their products to foreign markets. This is also closely related to the significant growth of the e- commerce industry, often targeting foreign markets. In today’s article, we will focus on introducing products to Germany, with a specific focus on the fundamental aspects related to products, such as their packaging and labels.

Principles of Packaging Policy: In the current year, the German legislature amended the Packaging Act (Verpackungsgesetz).The amendment imposed greater responsibility of manufacturers and distributors. As a part of the amendment, new obligations regarding the composition and recycling of packaging were introduced.

Below, you will find the most important legal aspects concerning the requirements of the mentioned law.

Appointment of an Authorized Representative: For foreign entrepreneurs introducing products to the German market, there is an obligation to have a representative in Germany. This applies to companies that do not have their registered office or branch in Germany. The representative is responsible for registering in the LUCID system.

LUCID is the packaging registry of the Central Packaging Agency.

Registration in the system applies to:

  • Manufacturers
  • Sellers introducing goods in packaging with the company’s logo
  • Importers
  • Online stores registered outside Germany that directly deliver goods to consumers.

Entrepreneurs conducting sales through platforms such as Amazon, eBay, Otto, Alibaba, Rakuten, etc., are required to display their LUCID number on the portal.

If an entrepreneur does not have a LUCID number, the e-commerce platform may prohibit them from selling through it.

Packaging that does not need to be registered typically includes those not collected as waste by end consumers, such as board game boxes, large industrial packaging, transport packaging (e.g. pallets), reusable packaging, packaging for beverages subject to a deposit, and retail packaging for hazardous waste.

CAUTION: If an entrepreneur fails to register with LUCID despite the existing obligation, they may face a fine of up to 200,000euro. Furthermore, they may subject to a sales ban on all products in Germany and on e-commerce platforms.
Mandatory Deposit Refund Obligation: When introducing food products to Germany, it is crucial to remember the obligation of a deposit refund. This obligation applies to all single-use plastic bottles and cans. Milk producers will be subject to this obligation starting on January 1, 2024. Until then, they are required to register in the LUCID system.

Composition of PET Packaging Regarding PET packaging, the composition of these packages has been regulated, specifically the minimum content that must undergo recycling. According to the regulations, starting from January 1,2025, up to 25% of packaging must be made from recycled materials. This regulation does not apply to glass bottles with only a plastic or metal cap.

After a concise analysis of packaging issues, we can move on to the no less important aspect of product labeling.

Labeling Regarding labeling, it should be emphasized that German regulations must comply with EU regulations, specifically EU Regulation No. 1169/2011.

This regulation has strictly defined standards for the information that must be included on food products labels to ensure  transparency and consumer protection.

It is worth nothing that entrepreneurs importing food products into Germany are obligated to apply labels to products in the German language. Failure to meet this requirement can result in financial penalties.

According to the regulation, food products must include at least the following information:

  • Name of the food
  • Ingredient list
  • Quantity of certain ingredients
  • Net quantity of the food
  • Storage conditions
  • Name of the food business operator
  • Country of origin
  • Directions for use
  • Nutritional information

The nutritional value of the product should be provided in the form of a table. In cases where the packaging is too small, this information can be provided in linear format. Information should be displayed in a front size of at least 1,2mm.

Additionally, allergen information should be specified in the ingredient list. Allergens should be differentiated by using different fronts, letter sizes, or background colors.

In Germany, there are also “Bio” ecological labels that inform consumers that a particular product originates  from organic farming or breeding, with adheres to higher environmental protection and animal welfare standards. There is also a requirement to inform consumers if a food product has been genetically modified.

Labels themselves should be printed in a front with a minimum height of 1,2 mm. If the largest surface area of the packaging is less than 80 cm², the regulation permits the use of a 0,9 mm font.

However, it may occur that the packaging has  a surface area of less than 10 cm ². In such cases, the label should specify:

  • The name of the food
  • Substances and products causing allergies
  • Net quantity of the food
  • Best before or use-by date

Finally, we’ll mention planned changes concerning the indication of product expiration dates.

In the market, you can find designations such as “best before” and “use by” dates.

In the opinion of EU authorities, such designations mislead consumers. Therefore, work is ongoing to standardize the system of indicating the expiration dates of food products.

There is also consideration to entirely eliminate the display of minimum shelf-life dates.

As part of these considerations, producers may be required to place nutritional value tables on the front of the label.

As we have shown, introducing products to the German market is not a straightforward process, especially when it comes to packaging and labeling regulations. If you are planning international expansion as part of your business activities, we invite you to contact us! E will strive to provide you with the best legal solutions so that you can focus solely on sales-related matters.