Nutritional labelling has long been a topic of fierce debate in the UK

Nutritional labelling has long been a topic of fierce debate in the UK

Tesco and Lidl will put traffic lights nutrition labels on products on sale in Ireland following similar moves in the UK.

The UK Government last week announced it was recommending a standardised, hybrid approach to front-of-pack (FOP) nutritional labelling. The labels outlined will incorporate a combination of guideline daily amounts (GDAs), colour coding and the words high, medium or low.

Discount retailer Lidl said that, in advance of the impending implementation of the EU's Food Information Regulation (FIR) in 2014, it will be adopting a hybrid labelling system that will incorporate the existing Guideline Daily Amounts (GDA) with the "traffic light" colour coding system. Aldi introduced traffic-light nutrition labelling on its products in the UK in September.

The FIR is designed to make food labelling easier to understand for consumers and combines rules on general food and nutrition labelling into a single EU regulation. The bulk of the requirements will not apply until 2014, with nutrition labelling becoming mandatory in 2016.

Lidl said its implementation of the traffic-light system in Ireland is "in the early planning stages" and is due to be implemented in 2014.

Retail giant Tesco, which in August announced plans to add traffic-light labels to the nutritional information it puts on products, said its roll out of the system in the UK would mirror that in Ireland/

"What we will do in Ireland is no different to what we're doing here. It's the same as in the UK," a spokesperson told just-food.

The decision was a major change in strategy from Tesco, which had previously favoured labels that show guideline daily amounts, or GDAs.

Nutritional labelling has long been a topic of fierce debate in the UK, with manufacturers, and Tesco, backing a GDA system, while other retailers favouring "traffic lights" or a combination approach.