Major UK Supermarkets Launch New Food Labels

Major supermarkets and food manufacturers are introducing a new traffic light labelling system to help people make healthier choices.

Until now, businesses had different labels on the front of their products to try to explain the nutritional value of meals and drinks, leading to confusion for customers.

This will be replaced by a standardised system across a range of products.

"It's a traffic light system," said Janet Taylor, diet and health manager for The Co-operative Food.

"This is basically to help customers make an informed choice, you can clearly see how much fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt is in the product.

"A green traffic light indicates a healthy choice, amber indicates an OK choice and red, well, you should eat this product in moderation. So it really is helping customers choose healthier options."

Those who have signed up to the scheme so far account for more than 60% of the food sold in the UK.

As well as The Co-operative, they include Sainsbury's, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose, McCain Foods, Mars UK, Nestlé UK, PepsiCo UK and Premier Foods.

The Government hopes others will join.

Public Health Minister Anna Soubry said: "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.

"Research shows that of all the current schemes, people like this label the most and they can use the information to make healthier choices.

"We all have a responsibility to tackle the challenge of obesity, including the food industry.

"By having all major retailers and manufacturers signed up to the consistent label, we will all be able to see at a glance what is in our food - this is why I want to see more manufacturers signing up and using the label."

The new labelling should start appearing over the next few months, with the majority of products made or sold by participating companies re-labelled by the end of next year.