Nutritional labeling helps people to understand their interested products more by providing them the details about them. For example, it is easy to assess any product for its sugar, salt, or calorie count so that the buyer can decide about spending money on it.
The new research finds that nutritional labeling helps in developing healthy dietary habits in people. The study conducted by the research teams from the University of Bath and Bristol University was conducted to find out the effects of nutritional labeling on the front pack of certain food products. This technique was first tried in 2006 and reportedly helped shoppers.
The labeling affects the buyer’s interest in the product and reportedly there was an increase in buying the store-branded products i.e. pizza. There was also an improvement recorded in the dietary habits of the shippers especially in low-income households.
Back in the year 2006, the British Food Standards Agency (FSA) instructed all retailers to follow the “Front-of-Pack (FOP)” nutrition labeling on all of their store-brand products. It was made compulsory for seven foods i.e. ready-made foods, pies, pizzas, chocolates, burgers, breaded meats, sandwiches, and even cereal.
Many UK retailers picked it up and followed it by using two different types of nutritional labeling. Some retailers used a “Traffic Light System” which is basically a color-coded program showing the nutrients in vibrant colors from high to low. And other stores introduced another hybrid system which used both light system as well as Guideline Daily Amounts (GDAs). The nutrients were mentioned with colors and the significance of these ingredients as per GDA on the front label.
This scheme was successful to draw people’s attention towards what they are adding to their cart. The differences made in the choice of labeled food products as compared to without nutrition labeling were found helpful in improving the quality of food. Also, it helped people to look for more diet-friendly foods as the complete nutritional breakup was in front of them.
This research is published in a time when the UK government is planning the new strategies to control obesity amid the coronavirus pandemic. One part of these strategies is to add calorie labeling on the menu so that people are more informed about what they are planning to eat. The research team which has worked on finding the impact of nutritional labeling hopes that their results can suggest policymakers make more practical and useful rules.
Dr. Eleonora Fichera from the University of Bath is the first author of this study. As to her, these study findings suggest mentioning information about the nutrients on the label will help people to pay more attention to what they are feeding to their bodies. It will assist them in making better choices and somehow it will also affect the obesity levels.
In addition to this, labeling food items will promote manufacturers to make healthy food products that are highly desirable by people. Using this systemic approach urges the government to change or introduce food regulatory policies that will make a huge contribution to public health.