The government have set in motion a new food-labelling scheme to make it easier for the consumer to know the products they are buying. The new traffic light labelling scheme is set to be in place in summer 2013. The labelling will be colour coded green, orange and red. Green being the healthy options, red being the unhealthy options and orange being the middle foods. Therefore the more green labels on the front of the packet the healthier the food is. Apparently the scheme is to help control calorie intake and eat better foods.
This kind of labelling will be voluntary to food manufacturers however the majority are on board with the plan for giving the consumer more information on the food they are buying. It is unlikely we will see every product with the traffic light labels. If companies are producing food that is high in fat (including saturated fat), salt, calories or sugar their labels for the specific category will be red, warning consumers off their products, therefore losing a sufficient amount of sales.
The consumer will be hugely helped by this system. With obesity still being a growing problem in the UK, despite programmes such as ‘Change 4 Life’ the government are hoping the scheme will reduce the ever-growing problem by considerable amounts. The colours will make it easier to understand what is a good buy and what is not. Many people, when doing the supermarket shop don’t have time to read the back of all the labels, comparing and contrasting the numbers. Therefore it is hoped the scheme will make it a lot easier and less time consuming for the customer with the label telling you all you need to know.
Product labelling has been an inconsistent system for years and is forever changing. Consumers have been known to get confused by the information and the inconsistency surrounding food labelling. Some manufacturers have been labelling their products similar to the traffic light system for a while but decide to change the style or use different colour schemes causing even more confusion amongst the public. There is hope this scheme will last longer than the rest, allowing for a simple and effective way forward. There have been no efforts to make the scheme mandatory as that needs approval at a European Level, however if the system turns out to be effective their might be steps in that direction.