Today, the Government introduced a new and consistent system of nutritional labelling for manufactured foods. The combination of traffic lights to indicate low, medium and high levels of key nutrients with a percentage of the guideline daily amount of each nutrient provided by a portion of food is thought to be the most informative to consumers when making food choices.
It’s true that this system may help consumers to compare similar products and chose those that are lower in sugar and fat for example but it somewhat misses the point that we should be educating children in schools about healthy choices, based upon real food ingredients. Eating unprocessed, real foods and minimising the intake of pre-prepared, highly processed foods avoids the need for this somewhat confusing focus on nutrients.
There are several issues with this labelling system:
What’s the solution? Get food education back into schools and teach children about real food ingredients, quick scratch cooking recipes and budgeting. This is the only way to reduce the reliance of many families on cheap processed food with little nutritional value. If we as a nation voted with our feet and started scratch cooking, manufacturers would have to follow by cleaning up their products and no voluntary labelling system can ever compete with that.