Sweden’s food watchdog has given the go-ahead for firms to display national dietary guidelines on packaging and marketing materials in a bid to boost healthier eating in the country.

The National Food Agency (NFA) of Sweden said the move mainly applies to keyhole products to highlight foods such as those with less sugar and salt, more whole grains and fibre and “foods that are healthier or contain less fat”.

NFA dietician Anette Jansson said: “We want to increase awareness of what are good eating habits and help people make healthy choices.” She said the decision will help “spread the dietary advice” to more consumers.

The NFA said it had previously declined industry requests to promote dietary advice in labelling and advertising, largely because the agency did not want guidelines “misinterpreted” as an NFA endorsement of a particular product – and possibly compared to products carrying no dietary advice.

Now, food manufactures using the dietary guidelines can only do so in a way that “it does not appear as if the NFA has approved a particular food or that we recommend that product”, Jansson said.

The NFA acknowledged that there is still “a risk of abuse”. However, the agency said it is working with companies to ensure that they use the guidelines correctly.