Appalling numbers of shoppers ignore warning tags on food packets and still continue to buy anything they want, reveals a new survey.
The findings have come as a shock for the UK government, which has pressurised food manufacturers to display calorie, fat and salt content prominently on packaging so that consumers can opt for healthier choices.
Researchers from the Food Labelling to Advance Better Education for Life (FLABEL) examined 37,000 products in five potentially unhealthy types of food, including biscuits, chilled ready meals and fizzy drinks.
They found Britain had the highest proportion of nutritional information on packaging, with more than 95 per cent including it on the back of packs, and 82 per cent on the front, the Daily Mail reported.
Conversely, the research also revealed that most of the shoppers understand completely how healthy various foods are with only bare minimum nutritional information.
The researchers found that the people who said they understood or liked the various labelling schemes were happy to ignore them and buy the food they liked best, regardless of how unhealthy it was.
"Motivation was a major factor affecting the impact of nutrition labels on the choices made by consumers," FLABEL advisor Professor Klaus Grunert, from Aarhus University in Denmark said.
"When prompted, consumers were able to identify which products were healthier, but they did not use this information to choose which product they prefer."
"A lack of consumer motivation, therefore, is one factor standing in the way of healthy food choices resulting from nutrition labelling," Grunert added.