Sainsbury’s supports traffic light system

A supermarket chief executive has called on the food industry to move to a universal nutritional labelling system.

Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King has asked the industry to adopt a front-of-pack labelling system that combines multiple traffic lights (MTLs) with guideline daily amounts (GDAs).

At the food industry’s annual IGD convention, King announced Sainsbury’s plans to promote the system to others, which he said was a “decisive move designed to encourage both the food retailers and manufacturers to put aside their differences on food labelling”.

King explained that his request would make it easier for customers to make informed choices about the food they bought. He added: “Sainsbury’s has always championed simple, clear nutritional labelling. Seven years ago, we were the first to use traffic lights which are based on GDAs on front of pack.

“Now we are calling for the industry to put aside their differences and work together and align behind a common format.”

King also outlined the “impending” EU regulatory packaging changes as a reason to change labelling now, adding: “Food retailers and manufacturers will need to change a number of aspects of their labelling anyway. The Department of Health is currently working on exactly what this means for the UK food industry, but we know it will lead to a period of significant packaging change.”

So significant is the change, King said, it would happen once in a lifetime, as well as it being an opportunity to lead a unified approach that makes it easier for customers to adopt a healthier eating lifestyle.

“We’re also calling for an end to the use of any other colours which confuse consumers. There can be no justification, in customer terms, for continued use of any colours except multiple traffic lights,” said King.

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