Traffic light system for food labels may start next year

Media reports over the weekend suggested that the DoH is shortly expected to reveal plans for a common format, including a hybrid of traffic lights and Guideline Daily Amounts (GDAs), in a move welcomed by health campaigners.

Retail giants and health officials are expected to meet this Thursday (25 October) to discuss new food label plans for packs.

In May 2012, the DoH launched a UK-wide consultation on front-of-pack labelling which closed in August.

Health ministers wanted to see all food manufacturers and retailers using the same system to show – on the front of packs – how much fat, salt and sugar, and how many calories, is in their products.

Marks & Spencer, Asda and Sainsbury’s have used their own versions since 2005.

However, the past few months have seen a significant step change, with insiders suggesting that retailers have come under pressure from the Government to re-evaluate their stance, according to the Independent.

Tesco, Morrisons, Aldi and Lidl have all announced new plans to adopt the traffic light scheme.

‘Wheel of Health’

Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King announced that the retailer had recently scrapped its ‘Wheel of Health’ in favour of traffic lights, has said any supplier that failed to incorporate the scheme was being “disingenuous at best”.

Earlier this month, King said: “King said: “Sainsbury’s has always championed simple, clear nutritional labelling. Seven years ago, we were the first to use traffic lights based on guideline daily amounts on front of pack.

“Over 9,000 Sainsbury’s lines now carry our unique and much loved ‘Wheel of Health’ multiple traffic light labelling. Years of research show customers prefer a combination of red, amber, green traffic light colour-coding, combined with GDAs. Now we are calling for the industry to put aside their differences and work together and align behind a common format.”