After refusing to join the UK Government’s scheme, Sainsbury’s has decided to introduce its own new logo to help alleviate consumer confusion over what exactly constitutes “five portions” of fruit and vegetables. Retailers want to be seen as responsible, helpful and informative – offering value-added services alongside their food.

Consumers often do not understand the avalanche of nutritional information that faces them on a trip to the supermarket. This can be an important stumbling block for consumers on their quest for a healthier lifestyle. The Government, ever eager to steer people on the path to a healthier diet, is launching a campaign to encourage the consumption of five portions of fruit and vegetables per day.

The concept that five portions of fruit and vegetables a day help to achieve a balanced, healthy diet is hardly new. However the innovation here is the attempt to answer the question of what exactly constitutes a portion. The Department of Health will introduce a labelling system that aims to clarify this, but several retailers and manufacturers have grave misgivings.

Talks between the Department of Health, retailers and manufacturers have been held to decide which processed or composite foods qualify as portions of fruit or vegetables. The Oxford English Dictionary defines a portion as “an amount of food suitable for or served to one person”, which doesn’t exactly help the Government’s mission.

Sainsbury’s, which has finally decided not to participate in the official venture, will launch its own “Five-a-day” logo scheme in May. This will be implemented across its product range, and promoted through in-store marketing activity. Sainsbury’s currently has no plans to extend the campaign beyond its shops.

The Department of Health has decided to allow retailers and manufacturers to display their five-a-day logos next to its own, however this does precious little to reduce the confusion that exists amongst consumers. One of the main reasons cited as to why consumers do not switch to healthier diets is that they are constantly bombarded with inconsistent and often contradictory information. Retailers seem to be taking the lead in addressing this.

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