New food labelling to help consumers make healthier choices has been launched today by public health minister Anna Soubry.
The new label will combine red, amber, green colour-coding and nutritional information to show how much fat, saturated fat, salt and sugar, and calories are in food products.
Manufacturers including Mars UK, Nestlé UK, PepsiCo UK, and Premier Foods have announced that they will join all the major retailers in using the label on their products.
The launch comes after detailed discussions involving the UK government working with the food industry, health organisations and other partners to agree the proposed system and what the label would look like.
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.
“Obesity and poor diet cost the NHS billions of pounds every year. Making small changes to people’s diet can have a big impact to their health and could stop people getting serious illnesses – such as heart disease – later in life.
“People will be able to use the colours to understand the levels of nutrients in the food they are eating. The labels are not designed to demonise foods with lots of reds but to have people consider what they are eating and make sure it’s part of a balanced diet.
“People will also be able to compare the same kinds of foods at a glance to see if there’s a healthier option, for example, if they are buying a ready meal.”