Sainsbury's will bow to customer demand and remove traffic-light labelling from its products - if Guideline Daily Amount labelling wins public support.

Front-of-pack nutritional labelling has become a key battleground in the food industry, with the FDF forking out £4m and the FSA £1.9m in a bid to persuade consumers of the merits of their respective GDA and traffic-light systems.

"The debate is ultimately good for the customer," said Sainsbury's chief executive Justin King. "If there were no debate, the FDF and FSA would not be spending all this money on telling the customer the two sides of the story. But eventually the customer will guide us and if customers tell us our Wheel of Health is wrong, we will go with what our customers demand."

An independent project management panel was set up by the FSA last month to evaluate which system works best for consumers.

The panel, made up of independent experts in market research and nutritional and social sciences, will oversee a major consumer-focused study into the benefits of each system.

It is expected to begin later this year, with findings published in 2008.

King's comments echo those made by FSA chair Dame Deirdre Hutton earlier this year. "The FSA, together with its industry and health charity partners, is committed to standing by the results of the independent study, and will encourage all manufacturers and retailers to adopt whatever system is shown to be the most effective in helping shoppers to make healthier food choices," she said.

King said he was, nevertheless, confident consumers would give traffic-light labelling the thumbs up over the GDA system, which is championed by Tesco and a powerful group of food manufacturers.

"All systems are using the same basic science so the debate is about presentation," said King. "GDAs have been on the back of pack for seven to eight years, but we have moved on."