Another major supplier has jumped on board the GDA label bandwagon, while Heinz has also signalled it has no intention of adopting the controversial multiple traffic-light system that the FSA is believed to favour.
Campbell Grocery Products is the latest to join the breakaway league of suppliers backing front-of-pack labels with Guideline Daily Amounts.
Taking a lead from Tesco’s GDA system, Danone, Kellogg, Kraft, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever all revealed plans last week to slap GDA labels on the front of packs, while Cadbury and Masterfoods are to put GDAs on the back of packs in a new Be Treatwise initiative.
Debbie Thomassen, consumer and customer insights director at Campbell, said precise details had still be worked out, but that packs would start to carry front-of-pack GDAs from this summer. The company plans to start the roll out on its Super Noodles snack and V8 juice brands.
“We think GDA is a superb initiative,” said Thomassen. “Traffic lights are a blunt tool. Food is about taste and what you get from it and if we just reduce everything to a green light or a no-go then that is no real choice at all. We should not treat people like idiots.”
She added that smaller articles, such as Oxo, may provide challenges in terms of fitting on GDA information.
Nigel Dickie, director of corporate and government affairs at Heinz, said: “We have taken part in the FSA consultation but we have no plans to adopt multiple traffic lights. We are supportive of GDAs as a good way of providing information.”
In a statement to The Grocer, public health minister Caroline Flint welcomed “the first steps by industry and retailers to introduce front of pack labelling”. But she added: “The test will be which system works best for shoppers and health.”
Meanwhile, Jim Dowd MP, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Small Shops Group and member of the Health Select Committee, waded into the debate as he delivered the group’s High Street Britain: 2015 report. Dowd said he hoped that the FSA would stick to its guns over traffic lights and added: “This is a concerted attempt by the industry to undermine the FSA.”
The FSA reports on its preferred scheme next month.
>>p38 Green light for GDAs?
Simon Mowbray