Last updated on 28 January 2010

Citizens' forum findings on nutrition labelling

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The Agency has published the latest report of people's views on food labels and their awareness and understanding of front-of-pack nutrition labelling. This is part of a nationwide series of 'citizens' forums' set up to establish a dialogue with the public on food.

A series of focus groups, conducted in England and Scotland in September and October 2009, found that awareness of front-of-pack labelling was high and was viewed to be important, in particular as a way to save time and make informed healthy choices.

The forum members felt that a single approach to front-of-pack nutrition labelling would be more user friendly. They found the co-existence of different schemes made comparisons between retailers and brands more difficult and caused some confusion about the trustworthiness of the information provided on front-of-pack labels.

The key elements people thought were important to include in a front-of-pack label were nutrient amounts in grams, as well as percentage of the Guideline Daily Amount (GDA), standardised portion sizes and the use of traffic light colours, alongside the words high, medium and low in order to help shoppers interpret the information and make decisions at a glance.

The findings will add to the body of evidence on the awareness and effectiveness of front-of-pack nutrition labelling in the UK and help inform the Agency's deliberations on the issue, which is due to be discussed by the Food Standard Agency's Board in March 2010.