Front-of-pack nutrition labelling

Last updated:
9 November 2016
Woman reading product label in a store
Revised front of pack nutrition labelling guidance (November 2016) has been published to include additional consumer messaging.

It also provides supporting information to help organisations from within the food industry, health and consumer non-governmental organisations, or professional bodies and companies working in diet and nutrition to promote and explain to consumers how to use the UK Government’s recommended Front of Pack Nutrition labelling scheme.

The guidance was developed and revised by the Department of Health, the Food Standards Agency and devolved administrations in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales in collaboration with the British Retail Consortium and helps businesses design front-of-pack labelling for their products.

This guidance will replace the guidance document which was first launched in June 13.

The front of pack label is designed to help consumers see at a glance what is in their food and is colour-coded red, amber and green. The label also highlights ‘percentage reference intakes’ to show how much fat, saturated fat, salt, sugars and energy is in a food product.

  • Red on the front of a pack does not mean you should not or cannot eat it, but you should try to keep an eye on how often you choose these foods and how much of them you eat. A diet with fewer reds can help you achieve a healthier diet.
  • Foods with amber are neither high nor low for that nutrient. Foods with ambers help you balance your diet; just try to include a few green ones too.
  • Green means a food is low in that specific nutrient and you may wish to avoid overconsuming to improve your diet. The more green colours, the healthier the choice, but you don’t have to eat only green colour coded foods. Including a few ambers and reds can be part of a balanced diet and will help you to get all the beneficial nutrients you need.
  • Many of the foods with front of pack labelling you see in the shops will have a mixture of red, amber and greens. So, when you’re choosing between similar products, try to go for more greens and ambers, and fewer reds to help you eat a healthier diet.
  • While the colours provide at glance information, the % RI information gives a little more detail about how much of an average adult’s daily intake limit of each nutrient is in a portion and will help you put it in the context of a healthy balanced diet. For example, 50% RI of salt means that the serving contains half of an average adult’s maximum daily intake for salt and so you should try to choose options lower in salt for the rest of the day.
  • The %RIs also enable you make more accurate comparisons between equal portions of products. You can use the detailed RI information to help you choose between products that have the same colour per 100g/ml or the same portion size.
food label

Guidance

The Food Standards Agency has issued guidance to help businesses design front-of-pack labelling for their products.

The guidance was developed by the Department of Health, the Food Standards Agency, and devolved administrations in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales in collaboration with the British Retail Consortium.

Background to the development of front-of-pack labelling and its evaluation can be found on the National Archive website.