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Consistent Food Labelling Still a Nudge in the Right Direction
p>The new consistent front of pack food labeling scheme launched by the government this week has already been dealt a blow with the news that major manufacturers Cadbury and Coca Cola will not be signing up. Both companies have issued statements saying they prefer the current Guideline Daily Amount system. Its estimated that the scheme will still cover 60% of foodstuffs giving clearer information to consumers allowing them to compare how much of their daily intake of fat, saturated fat, salt, sugar is contained in a 100g portion. The labels will also include the number of calories.
The use of a traffic light system backs up research by the Food Standards Agency that found that the public are more likely to react to key information presented in the format. Whilst calling the move a big step forward Richard Lloyd of consumer group Which? still wants to see the government take action against those companies that don’t support the scheme saying; “There are now no excuses – all food companies should follow suit and the government should name and shame any which drag their feet.” The annual cost to the NHS of treating health problems related to obesity is in the region of £5 billion with a 2011 report finding 61% of the UK population are overweight. Health Minister Anna Soubry is hopeful that clearer information will help the public make more informed choices explaining; “The UK already has the largest number of products using a front of pack label in Europe but we know that people get confused by the variety of labels that are used.”