17/05/2012

Which? Critical Of Misleading Sandwich Labels

Consumer group, Which?, have warned that inconsistent and confusing labels on best-selling sandwiches on the high street are making it difficult for shoppers to make meaningful comparisons and choose the healthiest options.

Retailers such as Tesco, Aldi, Caffe Nero and Greggs are criticised for failing to print so-called 'traffic light labelling' on the front of packs which claims that portion sizes and nutritional content vary so much that consumers could be eating three times as much fat and double the amount of salt as the same sandwich bought elsewhere.

Which? researchers looked at the calorie, fat, saturated fat and salt content of three of the most popular pre-prepared sandwiches – chicken salad, egg mayonnaise and bacon, lettuce and tomato (BLT) on sale at supermarkets and coffee chains.

But they found that fat and salt content varied widely while inconsistent labelling across stores meant that healthier sandwich options were not always obvious. The traffic light labelling system uses a colour-coded wheel of red, amber and green symbols to indicate levels of salt, fat and other nutrients but is not compulsory in the UK. Six out of the 15 retailers it compared include the traffic light system, but the rest do not.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: "With obesity levels reaching epidemic proportions, it's more important than ever that consumers know exactly what they're eating. Many retailers are already using traffic-light labelling, but the rest need to catch up and do what works best for consumers. We want to see the government insist that all food companies use traffic lights on their labels, so there's a clear, consistent system that makes it easier for people to make informed choices about what they eat."

(H)


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