Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Eat Those Greens. Food Labelling Gets Go Ahead

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Eat Those Greens. Food Labelling Gets Go Ahead

Article excerpt


GOVERNMENT-approved "traffic lights" labelling of foods such as ready meals, pizzas and sandwiches is being introduced next year.

The Food Standards Agency said today that its research had proved overwhelmingly that red, amber and green "signposting" could help steer shoppers from a diet of junk food.

The FSA's proposal will give a traffic light rating for each of the fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt contents of a product.

The colour indicates whether the food has high, medium or low levels of each component.

The FSA ruled out a single overall colour grade for food as too simplistic. The traffic light labelling will be voluntary but the FSA hopes that the food industry will adopt it as the norm. Two of the biggest grocers, Tesco and Sainsbury's,

have already tried out schemes of their own.

Tesco today indicated that it would not be adopting the FSA scheme. Group corporate affairs director Lucy Neville-Rolfe said: "The response from customers to the new labelling we have already introduced has been fantastic.

"In our trials, more customers changed the i r behaviour using signposts with guidelined daily amounts rather than multiple traffic lights. We are already starting to see changes in purchasing behaviour."

The FSA proposal is likely to prove hugely unpopular with some manufacturers, many of whom regard traffic light

labelling as crude and unfair.

In research published today, the FSA asked 2,600 people how useful they found four different labelling options two traffic light schemes and two numerical alternatives based on guidelined daily amounts (GDAs).

It found that "multiple traffic lights" was by far the most popular and most effective.

The schemes based on GDAs were less well understood, particularly among poorer social groups and ethnic minorities. …

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