Tesco will introduce its controversial new traffic lights labelling system to customers this month via consumer panels.

However, products with the new labels will not go on shelf in stores until Tesco is completely satisfied that there is consumer buy-in, said a spokeswoman.

“This is a very big step and we want to show consumers a variety of options before we decide which one to go with. We may also set up question points in store where we can discuss the scheme with customers.”

The traffic lights system, which has been criticised by suppliers as simplistic and unfair, is designed to help customers quickly distinguish healthy foods (green) from unhealthy products (red).

However, Tesco has not clarified on what basis products will be categorised or whether there will be additional text next to the coloured labels such as “high in fat,” or “high in sugar”.

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