It is time to “move on” from the whole GDA versus traffic lights debate and accept both systems have their merits, a leading GDA campaigner has said.

Speaking after the initial findings of the Food Standard Agency’s nutritional labelling research failed to produce a clear winner, GDA campaign director Jane Holdsworth said too much time had been spent fighting over which system was superior.

“We should all just move on,” she said. “We need to concentrate on getting the people who still aren’t using front-of-pack labels to start doing so, rather than trying to create one ultimate labelling system.”

Holdsworth claimed the results echoed new research from the European Food Information Council that suggested awareness of both schemes was high, although most consumers were misinterpreting the traffic-light system.

The FSA research, which is due to be completed next spring, has been gauging consumer reactions to GDAs, traffic lights and the hybrid schemes operated by the country’s major food retailers and suppliers. So far, the research has produced no hard evidence that consumers favour one scheme particularly over another.

The FSA reported that people were generally positive about nutritional signposting. However it also highlighted areas that caused confusion for some shoppers, including the use of colours, information about portion sizes and numerical information. The next phase of the research will involve interviews with 3,000 shoppers.

The FSA maintained it would support the scheme preferred by shoppers.