Coke to adopt traffics light labelling in the UK
The UK arm of global beverage giant Coca‑Cola has announced it is adopting the UK Government’s voluntary front-of-pack nutrition labelling scheme, which combines nutrient amounts and percentage Reference Intakes (RIs) with colour coding to show how much fat, saturated fat, salt, sugar and energy (calories) is in a product.
Coca‑Cola Great Britain (CCGB) said it had long been committed to providing consumers with “clear nutritional information” and has featured Guideline Daily Amount (now known as Reference Intake) labelling on the front of its cans and bottles in the UK since 2007. The Company said the adoption of the voluntary, colour coded front-of-pack scheme in the UK was consistent with The Coca‑Cola Company’s global commitment to “provide consumers with transparent nutrition information on the front of its packs”.
The necessary supply chain changes are being made now and the new, colour coded labelling scheme will appear on packs in-store within the first half of 2015.
Having gauged UK consumers’ views on the scheme, the Company said it had decided to introduce the new labelling on all of the brands it sells in the UK to “help make it easier for people to make choices that support a more balanced diet at-a-glance whilst shopping”.
“The increased choice of products available in stores today is great news for shoppers and we believe that front-of-pack nutritional labelling can help people choose a balanced diet,” said Jon Woods, General Manager of Coca‑Cola UK and Ireland.
“We have monitored the labelling scheme since it started to appear in-store and asked shoppers in Great Britain for their views,” Mr Woods said. “They told us they want a single, consistent labelling scheme across all food and drink products to help them make the right choices for them and their families. That is why we have decided to adopt it across our full range of brands,” he said.
Jane Ellison, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Public Health, said she was “delighted” that Coca‑Cola Great Britain had adopted the Government’s voluntary front of pack labelling scheme.
“It will help consumers make informed choices and lead a healthier lifestyle,” Ms Ellison said. “We want all businesses to give people clear and consistent information about their food and drink,” she said.
The announcement has also been welcomed by public health groups. Professor Susan Jebb, University of Oxford and Chair of the Public Health Responsibility Deal Food Network, said that together with the Coca-Cola Company’s other work to decrease the sugar content of its products, introduce lower calorie options and reduce portion size, the adoption of the traffic light labelling in the UK represented “a real step forward for the company in recognising their responsibilities for public health and supporting their customers to make healthier choices and control their calorie intake”.
In the past 18 months, Coca‑Cola Great Britain has also reduced the calorie content of Sprite by 30 per cent, introduced a small 250ml can of Coca‑Cola, Diet Coke and Coca‑Cola Zero and launched Coca‑Cola Life – a lower calorie cola which the Company said has “a third less sugar and a third fewer calories than regular cola”.