Press release

Hybrid system for food labelling given green light

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Consumers will be able to make healthier choices about the food they eat with the introduction of a new, consistent system of front of pack labelling, Health Minister Anna Soubry announced today.

The announcement of the proposed system - a combination of guideline daily amounts (GDA), colour coding  and high/medium/low text - comes after a three-month consultation with retailers, manufacturers and other interested parties on what a consistent, clear front of pack label should look like.

Many retailers already use variants of a hybrid system, and some provide only GDA. However they each display the information with different visuals, colour and content making it hard for consumers to compare foods.

Following today’s announcement, the UK Governments will be working with industry and other partners to agree the detail of the system and make sure they use consistent visuals to show - on front of packs - how much fat, saturated fat, salt and sugar, and how many calories are in food products.

Public Health Minister Anna Soubry said:

“TheUKalready has the largest number of products with front of pack labels in Europe but research has shown that consumers get confused by the wide variety of labels used. By having a consistent system we will all be able to see at a glance what is in our food. This will help us all choose healthier options and control our calorie intake.

“Obesity and poor diet cost the NHS billions of pounds every year. Making small changes to our diet can have a big impact on our health and could stop us getting serious illnesses - such as heart disease - later in life.”

The new label is expected to be in use by summer 2013.

**Notes to editors **

  1. For further media enquiries, please contact the Department of Health press office on 0207 210 5222.
  2. Consumers are confused when more than one scheme is used and this reduces their ability and inclination to use this information. Available online at the European Journal of Public health website.
  3. This is the preferred system across all devolved administrations.