Global study guides policy-makers in choosing optimal nutrition-labelling schemes

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This evidence synthesis may inform further generalisation of mandatory front-of-package labelling schemes and help to mitigate the burden of NCDs.

A recent network meta-analysis by researchers across UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the US have summarised the currently available 118 peer-reviewed studies to update knowledge of the most mainstream interpretive front-of-package nutrition labelling (FOPL) schemes.

They found that the traffic light labelling system (TLS), Nutri-Score (NS), nutrient warning (NW), and health warning (HW) were all able to direct consumers towards more healthful purchasing behaviour.

It was also found that colour-coded labels (TLS and NS) performed better in promoting the purchase of more healthful products, while warning labels (NW and HW) had the advantage in discouraging unhealthful purchasing behaviour.

According to the researchers, the difference in consumers’ behaviour could be explained by different underlying psychological mechanisms for each label.

“Future studies should focus on the impact of FOPLs on dietary consumption in individuals, and industrial reformulation at the population level, especially in real-world settings and over a longer time frame. This will provide crucial, robust, and comprehensive evidence to guide policy making”, said the researchers.

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