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Uniform food labelling to end consumer 'confusion'

A new uniform 'hybrid' system of food packet labelling is set to hit shops after research showed consumers are “confused” by variation in labels.

The labelling system will include a combination of guideline daily amounts (GDA), colour coding and high/medium/low signs.

While many retailers currently use different variations of hybrid systems, uniform labelling has been introduced to ensure consumes can easily compare the fat, saturated fat, sat, sugar and calorie content of foods through using the same visuals, colour and content.

Health Minister Anna Soubry announced the launch of the initiative after a three-month long consultation with retailers, manufacturers and other interested parties on what the new front of pack label should look like.

“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,” said Soubry.

“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.”

The chair of the British Dietetic Association (BDA) Helen Davidson welcomed the government's announcement.

“The BDA wants consumers to have access to clear, consistent, at glance information to help them to make informed choices about the food they buy and eat," she said.

"Consumers need a quick understanding of the relative healthiness of a product.  We welcome today's announcement by the Government about front of pack labelling.  This is a significant step forward.”

UK governments will now begin working with the food industry to agree the detail of the consistent uniform labelling system.

The new label is expected to be in use by summer 2013.