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Reseachers to assess traffic light nutrition labelling

26 May 2016  •  Author(s): Victoria White, Digital Content Producer

The University of Gloucestershire, in collaboration with creative designer Hayden Peek, is carrying out a research project to determine to what extent consumers currently use existing front of packaging traffic light nutrition labelling to make their food choices or whether an alternative receipt-based summary may be a more useful tool instead.

nutrition labelling

Food labels can contain so much information that it’s often difficult to know what it all means as we hurry around the supermarket to make the family food purchases. Some labelling, which may suggest ‘healthy’ food, is ambiguous. Some products are marked ‘reduced fat’, some ‘low fat’. Sugar is not always listed in the ingredients as ‘sugar’. This can all be confusing to the consumer.

With this in mind, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) developed a ‘traffic light’ nutrition labelling system to help consumers make healthier choices more quickly and easily.

The traffic light system is located on the front of packaging and allows the consumer to see, at a glance, whether foods are high (red), moderate (amber) or low (green) in fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt. However, whilst this system is currently adopted on individual food packaging, the consumer has little knowledge or understanding as to the general healthiness (or not) of their overall purchases.

Nutrition labelling survey

The new project seeks to determine the extent to which this front of packaging traffic light labelling is used by consumers and to ascertain if a receipt-based summary would be more useful. As part of the project, the researchers behind the project are asking for consumers in the UK to complete an online survey. Survey participants are asked a series of questions that will allow the researchers to obtain information about shopping habits and factors that influence food choices. You can find the survey here: https://glos.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/traffic-light-nutrition

Commenting on the project, Dr Matt Cole, who is a Senior Lecturer in Sport, Exercise & Health Nutrition at the University of Gloucestershire, said: “This is an innovative approach to nutritional information on till receipts in shops. To help us carry out the research, we would like as many people as possible to take part in our online survey, which only takes a few minutes to complete. All data will remain anonymous and will only be used for research purposes.”

The online survey is open until 10th June.

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