FLABEL research into food labelling
In January 2012 an EU-funded research consortium, Food Labelling to Advance
Better Education for Life (FLABEL), published the results of three years of
to establish the role of food packaging labels and identify what can be
when communicating nutrition information to consumers via these labels.
The results of this state-of-the-art research project show that despite good
understanding and prevalence of nutrition information on food labels in Europe,
lack of motivation and attention of consumers prevents labels from impacting
positively on food choices.
EUFIC research on portion information on labels
A recent pan European study conducted in collaboration with the University of
Surrey surveyed 13,117 consumers and focused on how consumers respond to
information on food and drink labels. The initial results of the research show
that when portion information is present on pack in addition to per 100g/100ml
information, consumers can use it to help them to use nutrition information
The researchers note that although there is an opportunity to
consumers on what constitutes a portion and how they are set, the challenge
encourage consumers to look for and use the information.
In December 2009 the Irish Food Safety Authority published a new research study
that looks into Consumer's attitudes to food labelling. Among the results, it
emerges that 87% of consumers consider the nutrition table on a label to be
or fairly important, but most would prefer to see nutrient values stated per
portion (e.g. per bowl), than per 100 g or 100 ml; 53% of the respondents
a GDA label.
Impact of front-of-pack 'traffic light' nutrition
labelling on consumer food purchases in the UK
This study examined changes to consumer food purchases after the introduction of
traffic-light labels with the aim of assessing the impact of the labels on the
'healthiness' of foods purchased. The study examined sales data from a major UK
retailer in 2007.
Critically, there was no association between changes in product sales and the
healthiness of the products. The authors recommend that further research on the
influence of nutrition signposting is needed before this labelling format can
considered a promising public health intervention.
FLABEL research on Nutrition labelling
In April 2009 the EU Project FLABEL published the first part of its research. On
average 85% of the products audited contained nutrition information on the back
of pack and front-of-pack nutrition information was found on average on 48% of
all products, reaching as high as 82% in the UK.Guideline Daily Amounts (GDA)
were on average on 25% of products with a peak of 63% in the UK. Nutrition
and GDAs were the most prevalent forms of nutrition information on the
EFSA scientific opinion
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) scientific opinion on the review of
labelling reference intake values for
selected nutritional elements.
Following a request from the European Commission, EFSA's panel on Dietetic
products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) was asked to review and provide advice
labelling reference intakes for energy, fat, saturated fat, carbohydrates,
and salt as included in the food information proposal.
Their conclusions back the values currently used by the food industry.
Mirror readers survey
GDA labelling survey conducted by the Mirror newspaper group. The research
carried out in December 2007 / January 2008 showed that 90% of mirror readers
were aware of GDA
and 85% found them easy to understand.
The research showed that consumers use the GDA information to understand how
healthy a product is and to help them choose products that make up a balanced
A pan-European study by the European Food Information Council (EUFIC). The
research questioned some 17,300 people in France, Germany, Hungary, Poland,
and the UK, both in supermarkets and at home and found that on average only
of Europeans (ranging from 27% in UK to 9% in France) regularly look for
information on food packaging in store.
The UK-specific part of this study, conducted in 2008, was published on-line in
the peer-reviewed Journal 'Appetite' in May 2010. The study found that more
65% of UK consumers look at front of pack labels, with most consumers having a
good understanding of GDAs. The research concluded that although UK consumers
were exposed to basic nutrition information on food labels and understood them,
they did not have the motivation to use them.
Millward Brown research
In 2008 the Food and Drink Federation commissioned a research study in order to
awareness, understanding, usage and influence of GDA labelling in the UK.
The latest research shows the number of consumers now aware of the GDA
front-of-pack nutrition-labelling scheme has risen from 70% in Oct 2006 to 83%
2008 and the number of consumers who have already used them has risen from 49%
63% over the same time period.
In addition, 80% of people say they find the labels easy to understand and 84%
would like to see GDA labels on even more packs.
The survey results covers the period October 2006 to September 2008.
Last reviewed: 11 Dec 2012