Take for example a box of breakfast cereal, the label is no longer just about the name of the product and claims of ‘fat free’ or a ‘healthy start to the day’, it’s about recognising that one serve provides x% of energy, x% of protein and so on.
It’s a program food manufacturers are voluntarily introducing and that consumers have been calling for as a means of providing simple information to clarify the role of foods within the average diet, known as the Daily Intake Guide.
Providing a standard system via its thumbnail presentation, the Daily Intake Guide promotes informed purchasing decisions through at-a-glance information about the composition of the product and its relevance to diet.
“Unfortunately, despite recent campaigns, many consumers remain unaware of daily nutritional requirements highlighting that a practical approach is needed to help promote these messages,” said AFGC director of corporate and consumer affairs Jo Thomas.
“Our research shows consumers understand the Daily Intake Guide and find it useful as a means of demonstrating the relationship between a serve of food and their daily nutritional requirements and allowances.
“It supports people when they are thinking most about the food they eat — at the time of purchase and prior to consumption — so they can quickly and simply relate it back to their daily intake.”
What does it all mean?
Labelling is one of the best forums the food and beverage industry can use to empower consumers to make informed choices which best meet their nutrition and activity needs.
Take for example the energy label which identifies that for every 60g serve of the food displaying this label, 10% of the daily intake energy requirement of the average consumer is met.
This means that in considering the remainder of their diet for the day the average consumer can select further foods to meet the remaining 90% of their energy requirements, as well as ensuring other nutritional requirements are met.
“Our research suggests people still find it difficult to understand what a kilojoule actually represents, yet we all know the impact too many kilojoules can have on maintaining healthy weight,” said Ms Thomas.
“With this in mind, the energy thumbnail with its percentage representation is a simple and effective way for consumers to understand the value of the food consumed and use this in relation to improving their overall diet.”
Using and supporting the guide
The complete Daily Intake Guide contains seven categories: protein, carbohydrates, sugars, fat, saturated fat, sodium and energy.
Manufacturers may display the complete Daily Intake Guide, or just the ‘energy’ thumbnail, recognising that size and style of packaging may limit use of the complete Guide.
The Daily Intake Guide is currently supported by more than 15 of Australia’s leading food and beverage companies, including George Weston Foods, Mars, Unilever, Kellogg’s, Nestle and PepsiCo.
“While a number of high profile organisations have already begun to promote the Daily Intake Guide, we urge all food manufacturers to actively and voluntarily support uptake of the program.
“It is only through the industry working together that we will have a truly consistent approach to labelling that informs consumers across all the products in their supermarket trolleys or in their fridge to allow informed nutritional decisions,” said Ms Thomas.
To assist in widespread education of the Daily Intake Guide, the AFGC has recently launched www.mydailyintake.net
For further queries about the Daily Intake Guide and labelling please contact AFGC Jo Thomas on 02 6273 1466.