New food labels help fight obesity
Published 19/06/2013 | 00:17
A new front-of-pack food label that has the support of health groups and all the major supermarkets has been launched to help tackle the obesity crisis.
The label combines traffic light colour-coding and nutritional information in the new form of "Reference Intakes" in place of GDAs (Guideline Daily Amounts) to show how much of the maximum daily intake of fat, saturated fat, salt, sugar and calories is in a 100g portion.
All the major supermarkets - Sainsbury's, Asda, Morrisons, the Co-operative, Waitrose and Tesco - have announced that they will use the label on their products, alongside Mars UK, Nestle UK, PepsiCo UK, Premier Foods and McCain Foods.
It follows research that found consumers are confused when more than one scheme is used, which in turn reduces their ability and inclination to use the information.
Health problems associated with being overweight or obese cost the NHS more than £5 billion pounds a year.
A 2011 report found that 61% of the adult population in England is overweight or obese - higher than almost all other developed countries.
It also found one third of 10 to 11 year olds and almost a quarter of four to five year olds are overweight or obese.
Public Health Minister Anna Soubry said: "The UK already has the largest number of products using a front of pack label in Europe but we know that people get confused by the variety of labels that are used.
"Research shows that, of all the current schemes, people like this label the most and they can use the information to make healthier choices.
"We all have a responsibility to tackle the challenge of obesity, including the food industry. By having all major retailers and manufacturers signed up to the consistent label, we will all be able to see at a glance what is in our food. This is why I want to see more manufacturers signing up and using the label."