A consistent form of front-of-pack food labelling - to enable consumers to make healthier choices - is to be introduced by next summer, the Government announced today.
The proposed system will include a combination of guideline daily amounts, colour coding and the words high, medium or low to indicate the amount of fat, saturated fat, salt, sugar and calories in the product.
Many manufacturers already include some of this information of their packaging, but it is often displayed using different visuals, colour and content making it hard for consumers to compare foods.
Gary Lynch, chief executive of supply chain standards organisation GS1 UK, said that the new legislation exemplifies the importance of globally accepted standards in the industry.
"As food labelling laws change next year, it is essential for the quality and consistency of product information to be communicated through all levels of the supply chain. Operators and suppliers must work together to establish a standard tracking system, similar to that employed by the retail supply chain.
"To maintain brand integrity, it is essential that product information, including labelling, is 100% accurate all the time.
"Having a common standard, the food service industry can effectively deliver the information requirements demanded by the latest legislation and, increasingly, by consumers."
Following today's announcement, the Government will now work with food manufacturers and relevant parties to agree the detail of the system and make sure they use consistent visuals on the front of packaging.
Public health minister Anna Soubry said: "The UK already has the largest number of products with front of pack labels in Europe but research has shown that consumers get confused by the wide variety of labels used. By having a consistent system we will all be able to see at a glance what is in our food. This will help us all choose healthier options and control our calorie intake.
"Obesity and poor diet cost the NHS billions of pounds every year. Making small changes to our diet can have a big impact on our health and could stop us getting serious illnesses - such as heart disease - later in life."
By Janet Harmer
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