Tesco To Lead UK Food Label Scheme To Tackle Obesity

On Monday a new food label scheme was agreed in a bid to help Britain’s customers understand how key ingredients in products compare with the recommended levels in their daily diet .
Led by Tesco, and other UK food and drink manufacturers (24 in total), a £4 million ($8 million) television and print campaign is set for launch, beginning 8 January, following government pressure for action on food labels to help fight obesity .
However, the advertisements will promote a guideline system that will rival the official campaign by the Food Standards Agency.
The agency had previously recommended a traffic light colour coding system which proved too much for many food manufacturers and retailers who couldn’t agree with the red ‘stop sign’ logos on their chocolate bars, breakfast cereals, and colas.
Jane Holdsworth, GDA campaign director said, “This isn’t just about a label, it’s about a lifestyle. We have made it simple to compare what’s inside thousands of every day foods so you can choose what best suits your diet .”
By 2010 one million British children are forecast to be obese, and the National Health Service has been quoted as saying it would have difficulty coping with such a rise.
The campaign is expected to run for 18 months, but the British industry is divided on the initiative.
Tesco has led the calls for GDA food labeling, and already has 4,000 of it’s products under the plan with thousands more to follow.
Last year Tesco Chief Executive, Terry Leahy said, “All moves to improve labeling have to be applauded. But our scheme works best for us and our customers. It’s simpler and it’s practical. You can plan your whole daily diet more easily.”
Yet over in the US food labeling has not been the success it was predicted to be. Studies in the United States have shown half of Americans regularly read food labels, but many of them lacked the skills to understand them.

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