The government has got a mixed response to their new color coded system for categorizing healthy foods. The food Standard Agency consulted over 2,600 people in the UK on four possible front- of pack Schemes. The Multiple Traffic Light scheme has apparently been the topper.
The Multiple Traffic Light Scheme (MTL) shows consumers at a glance if the food has high, medium, or low levels of fat, saturated fat, Sugar and salt.
Green - means a healthy food that should be eaten often
Amber - means an okay choice
Red - Means a less healthy choice that should only be eaten sparingly.
Ministers want to introduce the food alert system by 2006. However, the public will now be asked to decide whether the MTL system is preferable to a second choice - The Color Guideline Daily Amount.
The Color Guideline Daily Amount (CGDA) as seen in the example below allows the consumer to see the nutritional contents in food products both in figures as well as colors. This system seems to be a more practical approach in providing health conscious consumers with quick, easy to read information.
However, the excitement over the CGDA system has been dampened due to the results of an earlier poll which stressed that lower socio economic and ethnic minority groups were unable to successfully use this system to identify nutrient content of the food. This would be 31% of the 2,600 consumers who were polled.
The road ahead for the UK government will not be easy especially with the red light unhealthy food system receiving a cold shoulder from the food industry.
Traffic Light Label
Medindia on Processed foods:
Guideline Daily Amount
Convenience foods are often associated with the word -'unhealthy'. But it is not the case. Many convenience foods are healthy and nutritious too. It is not always that convenience foods are manufactured in a large factory with large equipment. On the contrary the preliminary preparations made by the homemaker also contribute to making convenience foods. The major advantage of them is saving both time and energy of the individual. As well as dispensing off with preliminary equipment and going through the drill of preliminary preparations like washing, cleaning, peeling, cutting, grating and shredding.
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