The Food Standards Agency is conducting a research project into front-of-pack food labelling.

Approximately 2,600 people will be asked their views on four potential schemes that could be adopted by retailers and manufacturers.

The results will then be used to develop a single, easy-to-understand scheme that will be introduced across the industry.

Tesco and Sainsbury have both recently launched front-of-pack labelling systems.

Tesco moved their nutritional labelling from the back to the front of product packs and Sainsbury’s adopted a front-of-pack Wheel of Health system.

FSA director of consumer choice and dietary health, Gill Fine said: “Many sectors of the food industry have introduced their own signposting schemes. Although we welcome action to help make healthier eating easier, we are concerned that different schemes may cause confusion.”

The FSA hopes that the chosen scheme will be in use by 2006 following consultation.

Separately, the FSA has made £10m available to English local authorities over three years to help promote the new Safer Food, Better Business approach to food management.

The model aims to help smaller businesses comply with new EC regulation requiring food business operators to put in place food safety management procedures.