UK food industry body the Food and Drink Federation today (Monday) launched a new information leaflet called ‘A Guide to Nutrition Labels’ and designed to help consumers better understand what’s on and in the food they buy.

The latest strand in the industry’s growing food fitness healthy lifestyle programme; the leaflet sets out in clear language what is on the nutrition label; what guideline daily amounts (GDAs) are, and explains in simple terms what protein; carbohydrates; fat; fibre, and sodium are. The leaflet also gives some basic guidelines on how to achieve a balanced diet.

“Better information helps consumers to construct a balanced diet from the thousands of food and drink products available, said FDF deputy director general Martin Paterson. “Understanding the information on a food label, and in particular how GDAs work as a simple ‘ready reckoner’, will help consumers make informed dietary choices and see clearly how the food they buy fits into their overall diet.”

“Food labels convey a lot of basic information for consumers,” he said. “In addition, many consumers look to manufacturers to include information on their particular interests or needs. However, regulations prescribe what information must be on the label, and space is often limited.”

More than 80% of UK-produced, pre-packed, manufactured foods voluntarily have nutrition labelling on pack; more and more products are showing salt equivalence, and GDAs now feature on a wide and increasing range of products, the FDF said.

The leaflet shows how GDAs can help consumers choose a balanced diet. It indicates how many calories and how much total fat; saturated fat, and salt men and women should aim to consume each day. These guidelines are recommended by health and nutrition professionals.