Tesco announces improved approach to food labelling

22 Aug 2012

Tesco has today announced, following new customer research, its support for a hybrid labelling system that combines its existing Guideline Daily Amounts (GDA) with the “traffic light” colour coding system.

Tesco has today announced, following new customer research, its support for a hybrid labelling system that combines its existing Guideline Daily Amounts (GDA) with the “traffic light” colour coding system.

The research showed that customers remain happy with GDAs and continue to favour them over traffic light colour coding, which used alone does not provide the detail customers need to make an informed decision about the products they buy. However, the research also showed that customers prefer the combination of traffic light colours, which give simple at-a-glance guidance, and GDAs, which give accurate and meaningful information. Customers also want a consistent approach to labelling across the industry and Tesco is committed to working with the Government, NGOs, public health organisations, other retailers and our supply chain to try to achieve this.

This evolution in Tesco’s approach reflects the changing and increasingly sophisticated demands of customers who want clear, accessible and meaningful information to enable them to make informed choices.

Philip Clarke, Tesco’s Chief Executive said: “Tesco has led the way in giving shoppers clear information about the food they eat and was the first retailer to put nutritional information on the front of our packs in 2005 when we rolled out our Guideline Daily Amount labels.

“We always listen to our customers and they have told us that by combining our popular GDA labels with traffic light colour coding we can make it even easier for them to make informed and healthy choices about the food they buy.

“We are committed to doing what is right for our customers and therefore have decided to bring together the distinct benefits of GDAs and traffic lights.  We know customers are looking for a consistent approach, and intend to work with government, health bodies, other retailers and manufacturers to deliver this as soon as possible.”

The news was welcomed by Secretary of State for Health Andrew Lansley, NGOs and public health groups including the British Heart Foundation.

Peter Hollins, Chief Executive of the British Heart Foundation, said: “The British Heart Foundation, the nation’s heart charity, congratulates Tesco on this decision. This action by the UK’s largest supermarket will help millions of busy shoppers to make healthier eating choices and could have a real impact on people’s diets.

“We hope others will build on Tesco's initiative and commit to working with Government to introduce consistent and easy to understand food labelling – including traffic light colours – across the country.”

Ends

Notes to  Editors:

Tesco commissioned research by Penn Schoen and Berland to inform its response to the Government’s consultation on Front of Pack nutrition labelling. PSB conducted a quantitative online survey of 1,002 UK adults aged 18+. Quotas were set to ensure a representative sample and data were weighted to the profile of the population. Fieldwork was conducted between 9th and 16th July 2012. It also conducted six focus groups with primary and secondary Tesco shoppers between 10th and 12th July 2012.

Tesco is committed to working with the Government, NGOs, public health organisations, our supply chain and the rest of the industry to try to achieve a consistent approach to labelling as we work towards compliance with the EU Food Information Regulations by December 2014.

For more information please contact the Tesco Press Office on
01992 644645

Tesco is the UK's largest retailer and one of the world's leading international retailers. Tesco has around 5,000 stores worldwide, employing over 500,000 people in the 14 countries in which it operates. Our core purpose is to create value for customers to earn their lifetime loyalty. Our success depends on people: the people who shop with us and the people who work with us.