Got the green light: ‘We’ve listened and now we’re acting’ – Kellogg’s to finally put 'traffic light' health labels on UK cereals
The company is finally taking steps to use the voluntary system, which was officially adopted by the UK government in 2013 to help consumers make healthier food choices.
Traffic light labels show whether levels of sugar, salt and fat are high, medium or low using red, amber and green traffic light colors, based on the amount per 100g.
Kellogg’s UK MD Oli Morton said the decision followed a survey of 2,000 Britons asking them about their attitudes towards labelling.
“Put simply, they said we should change and move to a full color solution as they want help making healthy decisions. We’ve listened and now we're acting,” he said.
He added labels will appear on 80% of the breakfast cereal packs made exclusively for sale in Britain, including Coco Pops, Crunchy Nut, Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, Frosties and Special K from January. The remaining 20% of its products will be changed by early 2020.
Boxes sold across a number of EU countries where the color-coded labels are not well known will not feature the new design.
The importance of helping consumers
“Clear information is the foundation of healthy choices, so we're pleased that Kellogg's is adding traffic lights to its front-of-pack labeling,” said Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England.
“This announcement highlights the importance of helping consumers to make informed choices and we hope other companies will follow suit.”
Earlier this year, consumer group Which? called for a mandatory traffic light labelling post-Brexit.
It claimed its researchers had analyzed 31 cereals and found they contained more than three quarters of an adult’s recommended daily maximum of free sugars in one portion – however, the true sugar level was not reflected on the packaging.
It criticized manufacturers like Kellogg’s for ‘lagging behind.’
“The government should now use Brexit as an opportunity to introduce legislation that makes traffic light labeling mandatory as part of an approach based on high food standards and aimed at boosting the nation's health and wellbeing,” said Sue Davis, strategic policy adviser at Which?