Consumers ignoring the green light of UK ‘traffic light’ labelling system

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 11th October 2012

UK market research firm Canadean has reported that ‘traffic light’ warning labels that indicate fat, calories and salt levels in processed foods are being ignored by a third of UK consumers.

The report found that despite thinking the traffic light labels were ‘a good idea,’ consumers still find ‘traffic lights’ too difficult to understand, and only a third of consumers think the ‘traffic lights’ make a product more trustworthy. The study revealed that 19 per cent of consumers said that the labels added too much confusion to the process and 15 per cent did not understand the ‘traffic light’ labeling system.

Despite the confusion regarding the ‘traffic lights,’ the Canadean study found that the labels still served a purpose. Moreover, the report showed that only 32 per cent of those surveyed said that they would prefer to purchase a product with a ‘traffic light’ label, although 46 per cent surveyed had previously used them to inform their choices.

Lead consultant at Canadean, Mark Whalley, said that the ‘traffic light’ system was not meeting consumer needs and that ‘collaborating on one system would be in the best interest of consumers.’

‘Traffic lights were supposed to make this a quicker and easier process, but this research finds that there is some way to go,’ Mr Whalley said.