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Signposts 'make healthier eating easier'

by 5m Editor
30 November 2004, at 12:00am

UK - The Food Standards Agency today released new research suggesting that people would like simple labelling signposts to help them make informed and healthier food choices.

Both the FSA's Action Plan on Food Promotions and Children's Diet, published on 6 July 2004, and the Government's Public Health White Paper, launched on 16 November 2004, identified signposting as a possible method for helping people make healthier food choices.

The FSA has been working with stakeholders and has developed a number of signposting options. Five of these options have been consumer tested.

The Agency will now work with the food industry, consumer groups and public health groups to develop these – and potentially other – options, to see which concepts will work best in practice. Further research will be carried out to test how people react to these options. Gill Fine, the FSA's Director of Consumer Choice and Dietary Health, said: 'People have told us they want to make healthier food choices and that they would welcome signposting to help them.

'We want to know what people want and what they would find useful. We will therefore test out the options in shops and work with stakeholders to do this. We need to ensure that what we recommend will be useful and workable.'

Two of the five signposts tested were clearly preferred. One of the preferred options was the 'Simple Traffic Light'. This combined the main nutrients into a single measure and might be depicted as red, amber or green. The other preferred option was the 'Multiple Traffic Light', which showed separate information for the total fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt content. This might be depicted as separate traffic lights for high, medium or low levels for each of these key nutrients.

The FSA will now test out all the options in shops, working with the food industry. The Agency plans to complete this work during summer 2005.

Examples of all the signposts tested can be found below as well as the accompanying research into the concept testing of alternative labelling of healthy and less healthy foods.

Source: Food Standards Agency - 25th November 2004

5m Editor