The Department of Health has revealed new plans to allow a phased rollout of its proposed universal front-of-pack labelling system.

The government had planned to roll out a new hybrid system of traffic lights and GDAs in the spring and had won the backing of all the major supermarkets.

However, it has faced strong opposition from suppliers who fear their products may be demonised by red lights on sugar, fat or salt. They have also complained about having to change packaging, arguing it would be expensive and time-consuming.

The government now plans to unveil its final recommendations for the new system in the summer. They will include a new pledge under its Responsibility Deal giving companies more leeway in the sign-up process and pushing ahead with “priority products” first.

The exact timings have yet to be decided, but products including sandwiches, ready meals, pastries, pizza, breakfast cereals and breaded coated or formed meat products will be first.

The DH said the pledge would help attract “as many companies as possible”.