New food labels could encourage healthier choices

If there is any doubt as to whether the arrival of new food labelling will lead to a healthier society, a new study released by the University of Surrey will likely resolve them. According to researchers, subjects participating in a new examination which was designed to test the effectiveness of new food labelling conventions designed to outline clearly the positive and negative health effects of popular food items was received quite favourably. The lead researcher involved in the study, Monique Raats, commented on her groups findings, stating, Front of package food labelling is an important tool in helping consumers to make healthier choices and to encourage the industry to provide healthier food. In order to develop a comprehensive data set regarding the effects of food labelling on consumers, a group of 2,068 test subjects from countries including the UK, Germany, Poland and Turkey was formed. Participants were provided with three food items, each of which had been classified by the researchers as most healthy, least healthy, and moderately healthy. Testing subjects were encouraged to read the package labelling found on the products in order to assess on their own terms how they would rank the items in terms of overall nutritional quality. With each of the innovative, new labelling systems, participants were able to quickly and effectively determine how the products compared to one another. Individuals with little knowledge of or experience reading food labels were able to make accurate and informed decisions as to how the products they were consuming would affect key health areas, such as cholesterol, caloric intake, etc. This new study has already found its way to the British Journal of Nutrition, in which it was recently published. Given the fact that an increasing amount of attention is being devoted to food and beverage labelling and product packaging in countries around the world, it is quite likely that this new research will continue to receive visibility and attention amongst industry experts and general consumers alike. If trends continue as they have been recently, it is likely that food and beverage label reform will continue to occur in countries around the world, many of whom currently host numerous activist groups who are passionate about holding food manufacturers accountable for the content of the products they sell to consumers. For many individuals, these changes are long overdue, and represent a new wave of corporate transparency that will return the power of knowledge to consumers across the globe.