The UK government is set to launch the planned “hybrid” front-of-pack label – including traffic light symbols – tomorrow (18 June).
The Department of Health will unveil the new-look label eight months after the Government announced it would push for a standardised, hybrid approach to front-of-pack (FOP) nutritional labelling.
When it made the recommendation last October, the Department said it would work with industry and other partners to agree the details of the system and ensure there would be “consistent visuals” to show the levels of fat, saturated fat, salt and sugar, and calorie content of food products on the front of packs.
Front-of-pack nutritional labelling has been an issue that has long divided the industry. Nearly all manufacturers, and the country’s largest retailer, Tesco, had long opposed using traffic lights and backed the use of showing guideline daily amounts of nutrients on-pack.
However, last August, Tesco announced a surprise U-turn and said it would add traffic lights to its labels. In the wake of that announcement, Morrisons, Aldi and Lidl announced they would use a hybrid label if agreement could be reached between government and industry.
The Government’s recommendation in October meant it effectively backed the retailers’ position and against that held by most suppliers, which had been against the use of traffic lights.
Click here for Ben Cooper’s Consuming issues column in October after the Government’s recommendation for hybrid labels.
And click here for his column from last August after Tesco’s announcement, in which he wrote the retailer’s U-turn had left manufacturers isolated in their support for a front-of-pack system based purely around percentage of guideline daily amounts (GDAs).