Consumers are in favour of a single front-of-pack (FOP) labelling scheme, according to the results of a research project by the Project Management Panel, commissioned by the Food Standards Agency.

The aim of the study, led by an independent group of experts, was to evaluate the impact of different FOP nutritional signposting schemes on consumer understanding and behaviour. Currently, major multiple retailers are using a mix of the FSA’s recommended traffic light labelling scheme and their own variations.

The outcome of the research showed that a single FOP scheme would be best for consumers in order to avoid confusion. Most useful was judged to be a label that combined the indicators ‘high, medium and low’, traffic light colours and the percentage of consumers’ Guideline Daily Amount (GDA). The levels of nutrients present in product was also deemed important.

The project also found that consumers generally had a high level of understanding of FOP labels.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said that to commit to a change now would be premature, as a European review of labelling is currently under way.

BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: “Until a final decision about a front-of-pack labelling scheme is taken at European level, it would be premature for the UK to adopt any new regime of its own. Changing and then changing again would just produce extra costs and customer confusion.”