Diabetes UK: “Consumers want to see clearer calorie labeling on food and menus” 

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23 May 2018 --- Consumers are more likely to purchase food if it is accompanied by clear calorie labels on its packaging or on the menu of the establishment, a survey conducted by Diabetes UK’s campaign, Food Upfront, has found. The survey sheds light on how the availability of clear labeling on food and drink could have considerable influence on the spending habits of the British public. Therefore, the campaign is calling for mandatory front-of-pack traffic light labeling on foods and menu calorie labeling in eating establishments.

“We already know that people living with diabetes want more information about what’s in the food and drink they buy, but what’s interesting is understanding how the availability of better nutritional labelling influence the spending habits of the public as a whole,” says Helen Dickens, Assistant Director of Campaigns and Mobilisation at Diabetes UK.

“These findings are a clear indicator, not only to the government but also to the food and drink and service industries, that the public has an appetite to see better information about the food they’re buying, and they’re willing to vote with their wallets. It’s not just good for the health of the public; it’s good for business as well. It’s becoming increasingly difficult for the government, and industry, to ignore the wishes of the consumer. The British public have spoken, and it’s time for the government to act, and take this simple, bold step to improving the health of the nation.”

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Image from Diabetes UK

The Food Upfront survey included 2,121 UK adults. Some key findings included:

  • Almost six in 10 (59 percent) also said that they were more likely to buy from an eating establishment where calorie labeling on food menus/ packaging was available.
  • Almost seven in 10 (69 percent) say price promotions on healthy food would make them more likely to eat in a particular eating establishment.

These simple steps by the government could make a significant difference in enabling people to make healthier choices, and in turn reduce the impact of obesity on the health of the nation, the campaign further suggest.

According to Diabetes UK, currently two-thirds of adults in the UK are overweight or obese, which is a significant risk factor for diabetes. Further, one in three children in England are either overweight or obese before they leave primary school.

Understanding the carbohydrate content of food is vital for people with diabetes who make adjustments to their insulin dose by counting their carbs. That’s why as part of the Food Upfront campaign, they are also calling for carbohydrate content per 100g and per portion to be displayed clearly and consistently on the back of all pre-packaged foods and drinks.

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