Food labelling to be reviewedConsultation begins on nutritional labels

16 May 2012

Female checking food label

Food labelling can help you choose healthier options

The government has launched a consultation on food labelling. It wants food manufacturers and retailers to use the same system on all food packaging, to make it easier for shoppers to choose healthier options.

Traffic light food labels

Although 80% of food sold in the UK now has nutritional information on its packaging, there is no standard way of presenting this information. 

Some manufacturers and retailers use a 'traffic light' system, while others use guideline daily amounts (GDA) which show a percentage of your recommended intake of calories and nutrients. Which? has long campaigned for wider use of traffic lights as it is what our research and research from the Food Standards Agency shows to work best.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd says: 'Independent research shows that the traffic light colour-coding system is the best for consumers. We want the government to make all food companies use it on their labels, so there's a clear, consistent system that makes it easier for people to make informed choices about what they eat.'

Consistent food labelling

The government wants labels to show how much fat, salt and sugar and how many calories are in the food we buy. It is proposing that only one type of labelling is used across the board to make it more consistent.

The Department of Health says that if the biggest seven supermarkets used the same labelling for their own brand foods, it would cover around 50% of all the food sold in the UK. Asda, Sainsbury's, The Co-operative, Marks and Spencer and Waitrose already use traffic lights, but Morrisons and Tesco don't - and neither do Aldi and Lidl.

Which? food labels campaign

Which? is campaigning for healthier choices to be made easy. This includes putting an end to confusing food labels. Which? wants to see honest claims and clear labelling on food, so you know you're getting what you've paid for.

More on this...

  • Healthy eating for all - find out more about Which? food campaigns  
  • The rising cost of food - why Which? is calling for clearer promotions and pricing
  • Join the Conversation - your chance to comment on the latest food issues