In the latest move in the war on sugar, food labels could soon have to show the number of teaspoons of sugar contained in a product.
As a society we are becoming more and more conscious of what we put into our bodies and many of us are taking steps to lead healthier lifestyles. We all know to avoid eating too much salt or saturated fat, but in recent years the problems associated with eating too much sugar have become increasingly apparent.
As well as being a key cause of obesity, the consumption of too much sugar has been linked with a number of serious health problems, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, depression, fatty liver disease, and some types of cancer. These health concerns have shot sugar consumption to the top of the priority list for many health professionals and politicians, with the UK Government even going as far as to introduce a ‘sugar tax’ on sugary soft drinks.
Like most things, sugar is fine in moderation, but the real issue is that most of us don’t realise how much sugar we’re actually consuming. Ignoring the main sugary culprits such as chocolate and fizzy drinks, sugar is hidden in a whole host of different products, from bread to peanut butter and ready-made soups and sauces. Even foods that we think of as ‘healthy’, such as granola bars, yoghurts and low-fat snacks often contain more sugar than we expect.
As a nation we consume more than two million tonnes of sugar each year and, with sugar hidden in so many foods it’s perhaps unsurprising that many of us eat much more of the white stuff than we should. The recommended daily amount of sugar for adults is 30 grams (the equivalent of seven teaspoons), but, with this amounting to less than a can of coca cola, a high number of people are regularly exceeding this limit and potentially storing up health problems for the future.
With so much confusion around ingredients and nutritional content, food labels can be a useful source of information, and initiatives such as the traffic light system can make it easier for people to opt for healthy choices. In line with this, the latest labelling initiative from Australia offers a straightforward and easy-to-understand way of displaying a product’s sugar content.
Following a report into the nation’s consumption of sugar, Australia’s leading consumer advocacy group, Choice, has recommended that food manufacturers use pictures of teaspoons to indicate how much sugar is in a single serving. The recommendation has been welcomed by public health experts, who are hopeful that the Australian government and food brands will get on board.
This may be an Australian initiative but, given that sugar is currently such a hot topic, we could well see similar guidelines introduced in Britain, and it’s important that food manufacturers prepare for these changes if they don’t want to be caught out.
Here at Labelnet we can create bespoke food labels and are highly trained to ensure that our customer’s labels are compliant with current UK food labelling legislation. So, contact a member of our friendly team to find out how we can meet your labelling requirements.