Simple labelling prompts food switch
Labelling food products with clear, simple nutritional information produced ‘quite extraordinary’ changes in consumers’ buying habits in just eight weeks, according to a report on a major European conference.
Speaking at the Annual Obesity Europe Conference in Brussels recently, Tesco’s European affairs manager Ian Hutchins claimed that consumers switched in a matter of weeks to low-fat versions of sandwiches and healthier option foods generally when these carried details of five nutrients and guidelines daily allowances.
Hutchins told food industry and health sector delegates that within eight weeks of Tesco marking standard salmon and cucumber sandwiches with information about calories, sugar, fat, saturates, salt and GDAs, sales had dropped by 30%. However, sales of its healthy eating equivalent soared by 46%.
Lower fat ready meals were also substantially affected. Sales of salmon en croute and peppered steak rosti bake, both relatively high in fat content, fell by 29% and 26% respectively, while a sales of a vegetable curry meal increased by 33%.
Hutchins said the presentation of the nutritional information was kept simple and easy to interpret as a result of extensive market research with consumers.