Wide-scale introduction of traffic light labelling in the UK

Shortly after Australia introduced a new voluntary food Star--labelling system, Britain’s Public Health Minister Anna Soubry launched today a new consistent front of pack nutritional label, so that consumers make healthier choices about the food they eat. Research shows that people can end up bewildered by the different nutrition labels on food thus the new label aims to make it easier for people to make healthier choices. The UK Department of Health was working with the food industry, health NGOs and other partners through the “Responsibility Deal“ to agree the proposed system and design of the label. 

The new voluntary system combines both traffic light colour-coding and nutritional information to display how much fat, saturated fat, salt, sugar and calories are in products. “Reference Intakes” are replacing “Guideline Daily Amounts” (GDA).

The traffic light labels will be rolled out over the next few months, and the manufacturers and supermarkets will use the same criteria that have been developed by the Department of Health. The businesses that have signed up to the new labels account for more than 60% of the food sold in the UK. Upon them are big player like, MARS UK, Nestlé UK, PepsiCo UK and Premier Foods. All the major retailers, including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, ASDA, Morrisons, the Co-operative and Waitrose, will use the consistent label on their products. Whereas other big players like Kellogg's and Coca Cola are not participating.

Richard Lloyd executive director of Which?, UK´s leading Consumer organization said: “With levels of obesity and diet-related disease on the increase, it’s vitally important that people know what is in their food, and this labelling scheme will encourage food companies to do more to reduce the amount of sugar, salt and fat in popular products.”

Monique Goyens, Director General of BEUC, the European Consumer Organisation, commented: “We are delighted that these UK retailers will offer consumers the possibility to make healthier eating choices at a glance. In times when obesity has become a major problem in Europe, there is no reason why only shoppers living in the UK should benefit from such an easy tool. We hope to see more retailers across Europe follow this lead.” 

However the German Federation for Food Law and Food Science (BLL) emphasized: “The German food industry still prefers the functional nutritional information used since years. The nutrition chart and ‘Guideline Daily Amounts’ table are an approved method and are learned by the German consumer.”


More information: and

Front-of-pack nutrition labelling: are multiple formats a problem for consumers?

Guide to creating a front of pack (FoP) nutrition label for pre-packed products sold through retail outlets 

Source: Department of Health (DH) United Kingdom