Nestlé to add traffic light label to all UK breakfast cereals

By Niamh Michail

- Last updated on GMT

Nestlé to add traffic light label to all UK breakfast cereals

Related tags Nutrition labelling scheme Nutrition

Nestlé will add the UK government’s traffic light nutrition label to all its breakfast cereals in the UK, starting this month (October).

The UK’s traffic light logo uses nutrient profiling to give a colour – red, amber or green – to food and drink products depending on their salt, sugar and fat content.

Nestle in the UK has been using colour coded labelling on wholly-owned products since 2013 across all its range, from confectionery to beverages.

However, its breakfast cereals in the UK are manufactured and sold by Cereal Partners Worldwide (CPW) is a joint venture, partly owned by Nestle itself.

The traffic light labels are expected to be on all cereal products by early 2018.

Gharry Eccles, UK regional vice president of Cereal Partners Worldwide (CPW)​ said the decision brought Nestlé cereals in line with the common UK labelling scheme. “It is also in line with other Nestlé products in this market, providing consumers with a consistent approach to nutrition labelling in the UK,” ​he added.

Earlier this year, Nestlé announced ambitions to cut sugar in its breakfast cereal range by 10% by 2018.

Campaign group Action on Sugar said it welcomed the move.

Jenny Rosborough, campaign manager at the group, said "In August 2017, Action on Sugar exposed many branded food companies who are deliberately deceiving consumers by choosing not to use colour coded nutrition labelling on their cereal packs.”

"We welcome [this announcement] and we now expect all other food companies to comply. Clear labelling is essential to enable consumers to make informed choices."

In March this year, Nestlé and six other major food manufacturers said they would add nutrition logos​, modelled on the UK’s traffic light label to their European product portfolios.

The six companies said in a joint statement it was important for consumers to have a meaningful, consistent and single nutrition labelling scheme across Europe.

The end goal is to put in place a robust nutrition labelling scheme that helps consumers make balanced and mindful choices. […] A proliferation of national schemes would hamper consumer understanding and would be a barrier to the single market.”​​

The planned logo was criticised by public health campaigners and consumer rights groups for giving nutrient information based on portion sizes, which are often underestimate how much consumers eat in one serving, rather than per 100 g.

A spokesperson for Nestlé said: With regard to [this work] in Europe, at present, CPW is following the progress of the working group developing this new scheme.  Once developed, CPW will review the proposed labelling scheme and then make a decision, in partnership with the parent companies, as to whether they adopt it.”

Nestlé has its own Nutritional Profiling System ​and aligns reformulation targets for sugar, salt and fat reduction with this. 

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