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Traffic light nutrition labelling – interview with Dr Matt Cole on New Food Magazine

Dr Matt Cole (University of Gloucestershire, UK) led a project to determine if the traffic light nutrition label, developed by the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA), is the most beneficial tool for consumers.

Traffic light nutrition information consists of green (low), amber (medium) or red (high) indicators on front-of-pack labels for fat including saturated fat, sugars and salt. However, for some products, this approach is too simplified, e.g. Diet Coke would receive a green label whilst fruit juices might be amber because of their high sugar content, even though these foods have other benefits (e.g. high vitamin C). This can be problematic for consumers without a good understanding of nutrition when selecting products based only on the label.

To resolve this dilemma, Dr Cole and his team, supported by the Creative Designer Hayden Peek, developed a receipt-based information system, based on the traffic light nutrition label, and asked consumers what they knew about the traffic lights system, how it influenced their choices and what they thought of the receipt-based information. The survey will end on 10th June 2016 and the team hopes to publish the data at conference in the near future.

Read the interview here