Anglo-Dutch corporation Unilever has unveiled plans to launch a new front of pack logo designed to help consumers identify healthier packaged food and beverage options. The front of pack logo will help consumers identify foods that have reduced levels of trans fats, saturated fats, salt and sugar.

The new ‘Choices’ scheme was announced by president of foods Vindi Banga at the Unilever Vitality Press Event held in Barcelona earlier this week (30 May).

Unilever has combined its own nutritional research with international dietary guidelines to develop the Nutrition Enhancement Programme (NEP), which sets out the nutritional benchmarks that products need to meet in order to carry the label. Unilever said that the logo makes healthier choices more clearly visible.

Banga said: “Our research shows that consumers are keen to make the healthy choices. As part of our commitment to Vitality, we see it as our responsibility to help the consumer in making the healthy choices. We are constantly improving our products by making them healthier. Now we are also stepping up our efforts to improve consumer information on pack by means of a front of pack logo designed to work regardless of geography or product category.”

The first step in this programme, which will eventually be rolled-out globally, was taken in the Netherlands last week. Unilever said that it aims to have introduced the logo to its key markets within the next 18-months.

The scheme is supported by the Dutch Government and has been adopted in conjunction with food and beverage manufacturers, major retailers and caterers. Unilever said that it is willing, where possible and appropriate, to open the Choices programme and classifying benchmarks to third-parties, in the hope of establishing a consumer-friendly system that bridges categories and companies.