Food manufacturers and retailers have welcomed the FSA’s recommendations but believe there is still work to do to make food signposting work.
“The good thing about any review is that industry can now sit up and listen,” said Kellogg European director of corporate communications Chris Wermann. He said: “Self-regulation and internal codes for marketing and promotion have already got tougher.”
Heinz also welcomed the voluntary approach but Heinz Europe general manager corporate affairs Michael Mullen said the voluntary approach to advertising was mitigated by the stronger stance on labelling. “We are waiting for more guidance from government to fully understand how this will work. It is too subjective and there are issues such as getting much more information on the tiny labels on baby food.”
Unilever head of CSR and sustainability, Helen Lo, said Unilever was pleased the FSA was engaging more with stakeholders.
“We feel it has taken a number of points from industry, especially in the areas of nutrient profiling. We welcome the more realistic timescales and it looking at high, medium and low descriptors rather than just traffic lights.”
Tesco, which this week announced it was cutting £50m from prices to make it easier for families to eat healthily, said: “We understand obesity is a serious and a growing problem and we have an important role to play.”
Despite industry rumblings that Tesco is back-tracking on its planned traffic light scheme due to difficulties defining what foods would be red, amber and green, the retailer stressed it was on course to launch in the autumn. “There is no question of us back tracking. Products will be rolled out as part of a trial from September.”
UBUK was studying the plan at the moment, said media relations manager Alexandra Chilvers.