Controversial traffic light labelling is under threat of complete breakdown following the move by six more major manufacturers this week to back a rival scheme based on Guideline Daily Amounts.
In a joint move, industry giants Danone, Kellogg, Kraft, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever all revealed that they would be backing a scheme to put key GDAs on the front of packs.
The announcements followed revelations last week that Cadbury and Masterfoods are to flag up key information about GDAs, although theirs will be on the back of packs instead.
The defiant move copies the labelling scheme adopted by Tesco on its own labels and comes just a month before the FSA is set to unveil whether it plans to recommend multiple traffic lights or GDAs on the front of packs. However, key industry players have now signalled their determination not to humour traffic lights and urged other producers to join them.
Martin Paterson, deputy director general of the FDF, an ardent campaigner against traffic lights, said: “The industry is committed to helping people construct a balanced diet by appropriate use of labelling backed by consumer education.
“As the FSA is aware, there is clear agreement across the industry, both manufacturers and retailers, that GDAs are the most appropriate basis for improved nutrition information.”
Some £15bn of products would have GDA information on packs this year, said Paterson.
One senior industry figure added: “If this doesn’t show the FSA we are not prepared to be driven down a cul-de-sac on this issue, I don’t know what will.”
Also welcoming the move, Tesco said its “revolutionary” labelling system, which it launched nine month ago, was already encouraging shoppers to choose healthier options. A spokesman said: “This will enable even more people to make informed choices.”
In an attempt to bring producers back on side, the FSA said it found it “encouraging” that manufacturers were taking the need to improve labelling seriously but that it was “important that we all work together to deliver a scheme that works for consumers across the whole food industry…We hope that all in the food industry will adopt that recommendation.”
However, at this week’s
Simon Mowbray & Bill Doult