Tesco has decided to combine the “traffic light” colour-coding and Guideline Daily Amounts (GDA) formats for its future food labelling.

In response to the government’s consultation on front-of-pack nutrition labelling, the supermarket firm commissioned research with market research consulting firm Penn Schoen Berland, to determine which type of labelling customers prefer. This included online surveys, as well as a series of focus groups with Tesco’s customers.

The research found that even though shoppers favoured the GDA system, they also use the colour-coding of the traffic light format for simple at-a-glance guidance.

Philip Clarke, chief executive at Tesco, said: “The company has led the way in giving shoppers clear information about the food they eat and was the first retailer to put nutritional information on the front of our packs in 2005 when we rolled out our GDA labels.

“We know customers are looking for a consistent approach, and intend to work with the government, health bodies, other retailers and manufacturers to deliver this as soon as possible.”

In a statement on its corporate website, Tesco said it was looking to try and achieve a consistent approach to labelling by working towards compliance with the EU Food Information Regulations by December 2014.

The move has been welcomed by Andrew Lansley, secretary of state for health, as well as non-governmental organisations and public health groups such as the British Heart Foundation.

Peter Hollins, chief executive of the British Heart Foundation, said: “This action by the UK’s largest supermarket will help millions of busy shoppers to make healthier eating choices and could have a real impact on people’s diets.

“We hope others will build on Tesco’s initiative and commit to working with the government to introduce consistent and easy-to-understand food labelling – including traffic light colours – across the country.”