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Food Upfront - campaigning for clear food labelling

We know it's not easy to find out what’s in your food. Nine out of 10 people say clearer food labelling would help them make healthier food choices.

Evidence shows that clear food labels help us make better choices and give us more control over the food we buy. For people with diabetes, knowing how many carbs, calories and sugars there are in just one meal can be crucial. Yet food labelling is not compulsory, and one in three food products don’t have front-of-pack labels at all.

That's why we're calling on the government to make clear and consistent food labelling compulsory on all packaged foods and restaurants across the UK.

Success for Food Upfront

And thanks to supporters like you, the Food Upfront campaign has already had it’s first success.

On 24 June, the government proposed measures to strengthen food labelling.

This announcement is a great start, but we know there’s a lot more to do to win clear, consistent labelling across the board.

Can you help by sharing your story on why clear food labelling is so important? Whether it's terrible labelling that's made it really hard to make an informed choice, or perfectly clear labelling you'd like to see everywhere, we want to hear about it. We need to show Ministers and the food industry that this could make a big difference.

Share your food labelling stories

Clear labels help us make better choices

In our Future of Diabetes survey, thousands of you told us that unclear labelling in restaurants and supermarkets is making managing diabetes tougher than it should be. We listened, and we’re asking the UK government to listen too.

  • Clear – labels need to be quick to read and easy to understand; you should be able to get the information you need at a quick glance to make it as simple as possible for people with busy lives.
  • Consistent – they shouldn’t look different depending on where you’re doing your shopping. Let’s make things the same across the board.
  • Compulsory – some shops make sure they have labelling, some don’t. Our government have the opportunity to make this a standard requirement in the food industry.

And this won't just help people living with diabetes. Evidence shows clear labelling helps everyone else to make healthier choices too.

The evidence

There’s a lot of evidence to show why food labelling is so important. The Food Standards Agency found that labelling using colour-coding and the words ‘high’, ‘medium’ and ‘low’ helps shoppers quickly understand what’s in the food and compare different products, so they can make decisions about what they want.

We base everything we do on strong evidence, and this is no different. We know food labelling works – help us make it better.

9 out of 10 people survey said they wanted clearer information about their food

How better food labels will benefit you

Managing your diabetes day-to-day and keeping healthy is important, we know this. But it’s tricky to do that when there’s not enough information in restaurants, shops and cafes about how many carbs, calories and sugars there are in certain food products. And if you use insulin to treat your diabetes, knowing the amount of carbohydrate in food is critical.

If we’re successful, this would mean:

  • Calories will be labelled on menus in key high street restaurants, cafes and takeaways, with carb content available online or when you ask for it in store.
  • Carbohydrates will be labelled on the back of products, per portion and as prepared.
  • Front-of-pack traffic light labelling will be used on all pre-packaged foods sold in the UK. This will be the law.

We know this will help people know and work with their diabetes more easily. As well as empowering everyone to make healthier choices. Whoever you are, you deserve to know exactly what you’re eating. 

Not sure what we mean by traffic light labelling? Get all the facts to help you understand food labels.

Taking action

Thanks to your support, MPs are paying attention. Here is what you have been doing to help win clear and consistent food labelling, and how the government responded so far.

1. Signing the petition

Over 6,800 of you signed our petition, which is absolutely amazing. With this many signatures the message is crystal clear - it's time for the government and industry to strengthen food labelling.

2. Writing to your MP

On 18 April we took our cause to parliament to tell MPs why clear labelling is so important. Hundreds of you wrote to your MP to ask them to come and meet us.

3. Going to Westminster

Your letters worked. Over 50 MPs joined us to find out how they can support the campaign. With more who couldn't attend pledging their support and writing to the government.

4. Submitting the petition

On the 1 May, we took our message directly to the Prime Minister by handing in the Food Upfront petition.

Thank you for everything you've done so far. Your response has been truly extraordinary. Once government responds, we’ll let you know what they say, and what we need to do next. If you’d like to receive these updates, but didn’t sign the petition, then sign up to the Food Upfront campaign now.

5. The Government publishing their Childhood Obesity Plan

A major milestone for Food Upfront! We haven’t yet had a direct response to our petition. However, it looks like the government are listening.

On 24 June, the Government published a second chapter of their Childhood Obesity Plan. This includes proposals for clear, consistent and compulsory labelling. We know this is just a first step, but it’s one step closer to strengthened labelling. 

We’re waiting to hear how we can input into the government’s consultation, but, in the meantime, you can get involved by sharing your story about how food labelling impacts you.

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