Asda will extend its hybrid food labelling scheme to its entire own-label range from January, The Grocer can reveal - and is challenging its rivals to follow suit.
The number of products carrying Asda’s combination of traffic lights, guideline daily allowances and high, medium and low indicators would “massively increase” from 2,500 to more than 9,000, the supermarket said. The only exceptions will be fresh produce, like carrots or apples.
Asda dismissed concerns there would be a sales slump for some products. After adding labels to its Smart Price range in January, it had seen no impact on sales, even on “red” products like cheese.
Asda’s move comes after the government this week called for a hybrid label to be introduced across the industry by next summer.
Supermarkets and suppliers began discussions over the info in the unified label on Thursday.
“We welcome the government’s initiative,” said an Asda spokeswoman. “We want labelling on every product on our shelves. It’s not about demonising products, it’s about giving choice and information.”
Sainsbury’s is currently the only major multiple to have applied front-of-pack labelling across all its manufactured own label products. And earlier this month, CEO Justin King promised to alter its hybrid system to create consensus.
But takeup by rivals is low. Waitrose said it had increased labelling to more than 40% of its own label products. A number of Marks & Spencer’s food products are not currently covered.
And while both Tesco and Morrisons have recently agreed to adopt hybrid systems, both said they would wait until agreement is reached on a unified label before making any firm commitments on own label.