Kellogg’s has announced its decision to include the voluntary traffic light labelling on its products in the UK. The brand previously withheld the labels from their products but from January of 2019, they will join many of leading British retailers in utilizing the labelling system to assist consumer decisions.
The traffic light scheme was launched by the British Government in 2013. The system is an at-a-glance infographic of red, orange and green to give consumers a quick biopsy of the fat, sugar and salt contents of food products. It was produced as a way to aid customers in making healthier eating choices, without bombarding them with information.
While the scheme has been immensely successful it is not mandatory, and many brands have chosen to opt out of the labelling system to avoid negative reputations among health-conscious consumers.
Kellogg’s will be utilizing the labelling system throughout their ranges in the UK but will not be including it on their multilingual as the labelling system is not recognized outside of England and may be confusing or off-putting for international consumers.
Innovative Insights Director of GlobalData Tom Vierhile has offered his perspective on the company’s choice to adopt the labelling system in regards to increased concern over potential regulation of unhealthy food options.
“FMCG companies are under increasing pressure to head off government efforts to regulate or curtail the marketing of products deemed to contribute to health issues like obesity. What Kellogg’s is doing is pre-emptive self-regulation to steal the thunder from regulatory forces that may impose more draconian rules and regulations.”
“UK consumers appear to be somewhat less likely to change their purchase behaviour as a result of taxation intended to change shopping behaviour and this undoubtedly plays a part in Kellogg’s actions. According to GlobalData’s 2018 Q3 global consumer survey, 41% of UK consumers said that their shopping behaviour for high-calorie foods or drinks would not change after the implementation of a sin-type tax, versus 25% of consumers globally. This suggests that regulatory authorities may feel the need to be even more empowered, going beyond sin taxes to change consumer behaviour. Kellogg’s is likely responding to try to head off this impulse. Time will tell if they are successful in doing so.”
The snack and cereal manufacturer released a statement detailing their decision to incorporate the labelling system in their product range. “Put simply, consumers said we should change and move to a full-colour solution as they want help making healthy decisions. We’ve listened and now we’re acting,” said Kellogg’s UL managing director Oli Morton.