Front-of-pack labelling evaluation moves forward
Thursday 11 January 2007
An independent Project Management Panel has been set up to take forward an evaluation of the impact of front-of-pack nutritional labelling on shopping behaviour.
The scope of the evaluation and the membership of the panel has been agreed by the Nutrition Strategy Steering Group (NSSG) - jointly chaired by Public Health Minister, Caroline Flint and the Food Standards Agency's Chair, Deirdre Hutton.
The study will be managed by a small group of independent experts in nutritional and social sciences, including market research. This panel will be chaired by Sue Duncan, Head of the Government Social Science Research Unit and has the following members:
- Ashley Adamson, senior lecturer in Public Health Nutrition at Newcastle University
- Eric Salama, CEO of Kantar, the research and consultancy group
- Alizon Draper, senior lecturer in International Public Health Nutrition at Westminster University
The Project Management Panel will be responsible for agreeing the specification of the project, which will then go out to open tender. It will oversee the appraisal of proposals and agree the preferred bidder for the work. When the study begins, it will also be the panel's role to monitor this - with work expected to start later in 2007.
Chair of the Project Management Panel, Sue Duncan, says: 'As Chief Government Social Researcher, one of the purposes of my role is to champion the use of evidence in policy making. This project will ensure that the evidence needed in this high profile and significant area of work will be robust.
'The outcomes of the project we are specifying will potentially have wide ranging impact - including producers, retailers and consumers - and I am looking forward to being involved in such a high profile piece of work.'
FSA Chair Deirdre Hutton says: 'Front-of-pack nutritional labelling is now firmly accepted by the majority of major retailers and manufacturers. The debate is now about which system works best for consumers, rather than whether there should be a system - which is why we are committed to carrying out this study of impact on shopping behaviour in the market place.
'The FSA, together with its industry and health charity partners, is committed to standing by the results of the independent study - and will encourage all manufacturers and retailers to adopt whatever system is shown to be the most effective in helping shoppers to make healthier food choices.'
Public Health Minister, Caroline Flint, says: 'The Government made a commitment in Choosing Health to develop a clear simple front of pack signpost system to help busy consumers understand which foods can make a positive contribution to a healthy diet.
'When people are doing their food shopping in busy supermarkets, they do not want to be confronted with information that is difficult to understand about the best and most healthy foods to buy for themselves and their families. They want to make the right choices.
'This evaluation is an important step forward in looking at the different approaches currently in the market place to see which has the greatest impact in helping consumers choose healthier products.'