Consumers embracing Daily Intake Guide labels

Posted by Editorial on 23rd July 2008

Research released by the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) has revealed that the number of Australian consumers using the new Daily Intake Guide when making purchase decisions has risen significantly.

The study found that almost three-quarters of Australians consumers surveyed are now aware of the new labelling, with more than one in three saying that they have used the Daily Intake Guide to help decide whether a product was suitable for their needs – an 11 per cent usage increase in only six months.

Nutrition label

AFGC Chief Executive Officer Ms Kate Carnell said that the results show that people are taking notice of preventative health messages and are looking for better information on labels to help them make good decisions in relation to their diet. “Given the high incidence of diet and lifestyle related illnesses such as CVD, diabetes and obesity it’s critical that people know what’s in their food and think about how it fits into their regular diet and lifestyle,” she said. “Information about the energy and nutrient content of a product is included in the Nutrition Information Panel, but many people find it difficult to read and don’t know how to relate it to their diet.”

“The Daily Intake Guide brings the information about what’s in a single portion of a product to the front, where it’s easier to read, and helps by placing this in the context of an individual’s overall diet,” Ms Carnell added.

While nutritional information can be confusing, the AFGC believes that providing a consistent and science-based approach to food labelling will allow Australians to understand more about what they eat. “The key with food labelling is to ensure Australians are given enough information to empower them to make informed decisions about the food they eat, without over-complicating or oversimplifying the message,” she said. “Also, we do know that the amount of saturated fat and salt in people’s diets must be controlled to avoid cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases and the Daily Intake Guide can help consumers achieve this outcome.”

Developed in consultation with a number of independent healthcare professionals, the Daily Intake Guide is now featured on more than 500 food and beverage products Australia-wide. The Daily Intake Guide is based on the average energy needs of a moderately active man and woman of healthy weight, average height and age for the Australian population.

Food labelling has been a major talking point of late with some consumer groups calling for the introduction of “traffic light labelling” to assist with consumer decision-making. There are concerns, however, that such labels would oversimplify the message and misrepresent healthy eating advice.

The Federal Government has indicated a new, complete strategy for dealing with obesity will be out by the middle of next year.

For more information on the Daily Intake Guide visit www.mydailyintake.net.