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A new fridge freezer-style front-of-pack eco-label combining traffic light colourings with an A-E scoring system will be presented to Defra bosses this week, as the food and drink industry tries to make progress ahead of a possible launch as early as next year.

IGD is spearheading the plan with a steering group including supermarkets Tesco, M&S and Asda ahead of an official government consultation in the new year.

It said the “ambitious” scheme would sit alongside front-of-pack nutritional traffic lights used for health labelling, and reflect “comprehensive” data on water, land, and climate impacts.

However, as The Grocer revealed earlier this month, the new label is having to undergo further trialling to ensure the “robustness” of the data it uses.

The move also faces a backlash from farmers, with red meat set to receive a low score and red label because of the environmental impact of its production.

However, IGD said it hopes the system would allow room for even companies with low scores to improve their ratings.

Also underway are plans for a massive new open access database, which would include publicly available ingredient-level data about the impact of products.

Sarah Bradbury photo

IGD CEO Sarah Bradbury

In an exclusive interview with The Grocer this week, IGD CEO Sarah Bradbury admitted there was “lots more to do” before the scheme was ready to roll out.

But she said the system was “very similar to how labelling on fridges and freezers work”.

She added: “Some manufacturers will get very upset. If you’re in red meat it’s going to be a difficult label on your product, but there are ways of improving the score and… it doesn’t mean no one will ever eat red meat again.”