More than half of consumers check the labelling of products such as bread, cakes and biscuits, according to research by Harris Interactive, unveiled at the BCCC conference earlier this month. Yet despite this, only 12-15% admitted they read it thoroughly.

Senior consultant Gerardine Padbury presented the report, The Impact of Labelling on Consumer Choice, which revealed that 58% checked the labelling of sandwiches or biscuits; 57% checked bread labels; and 54% cakes. Most consumers were looking for information on fat or sugar content (43%), calories (42%), saturated fat content (39%) and salt/sodium content (25%). However, 33% and 31% of those asked said they didn’t check the labels on cakes and biscuits, respectively, because they were bought as treat products, so the nutritional content mattered less.

The report also showed that consumers welcomed the measures already taken by food manufacturers to reduce salt, sat fat and calories in food, while 75% felt manufacturers should do more of this wherever possible. However, 33% felt the reductions already achieved resulted in products that didn’t taste as good, and 20% of those asked said that instead of reducing fat, sugar and salt content, it would be better to make portion sizes smaller.