Use-by date most important label information

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Survey reveals Irish attitudes to food labelleing

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10 December 2009

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The Food Safety Authority of Ireland has published the findings of a recent study on the attitudes of Irish consumers to food labelling. According to the survey, which comprised face-to-face interviews with 1,021 consumers, the majority believe the use-by date is the most important piece of food labelling, followed by the list of ingredients and the name of the food.

Generally, a quarter of consumers will consult food labels when shopping, while 27% said they rarely or never consult them. However three quarters of people surveyed said that they do believe some kind of food labelling is informative, with 87% saying the nutrition table in particular is very or fairly important. Most of these stated that they would prefer to see nutrient values stated per portion, for example per bowl, rather than per 100g or 100ml.

Over 70% of consumers polled said they are very or fairly concerned about salt in food and therefore would like labelling to enable them to choose lower-salt options. Also the majority would prefer to see the word ‘salt’ instead of ‘sodium.’ And when offered a choice of seeing nutrition information in a ‘traffic light’ format, by Guideline Daily Amount (GDA), or as a combination of both, 53% opted for either one, with 39% favouring ‘traffic light’ labelling particularly, but only 8% saying they found a combination of the two most useful.

In addition, over 80% want health advice on alcohol consumption labelled on alcoholic products; 75% would like to see a use-by date on foods sold loose; at least 66% said they would be inclined to buy food labelled ‘low salt’, ‘low sugars’, ‘one of five a day’, ‘high fibre’, or ‘fat free.’

 

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