News story

Single system for nutrition labelling announced

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

The Department has announced proposals for front-of-pack nutrition labelling that clearly displays: how much fat, saturated fat, salt and sugar…

The Department has announced proposals for front-of-pack nutrition labelling that clearly displays: how much fat, saturated fat, salt and sugar and how many calories food products contain.

The new proposed system includes using:

  • colour coding
  • guideline daily amounts (%GDA)
  • high/medium/low text

Many retailers already use variants of a hybrid system. 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.

Having a clear and consistent labelling system across all retailers will allow consumers to make quick, informed decisions about the food they eat. And may also help consumers to make healthier choices that address some of the serious health consequences of poor diet, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes.

The announcement comes after a 3-month UK-wide consultation on front-of-pack labelling with retailers, manufacturers and other interested parties on what a consistent, clear front of pack label should look like.

Public Health Minister Anna Soubry said:

‘The UK already 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.