New Zealand and Australian ministers have agreed front-of-pack nutrition labels on food products are needed. But a decision on traffic-light labelling has been postponed.
We've been campaigning for traffic-light labels because they help consumers pick healthier products.
Traffic-light labelling uses green, amber and red symbols to indicate the level of total fat, saturated fat, sugar and sodium in a product.
However, the New Zealand and Australia Forum on Food Regulation has delayed a decision on traffic light labels pending further consultation and research. The forum has asked officials to provide a report on front-of-pack labelling options to be considered at its next meeting in June 2012.
We'll continue to advocate for traffic light labels because they help consumers sift through the marketing hype and make better food choices.
Behind the label
We've picked a sample of supermarket products that make nutrition claims and applied traffic light labelling.
Here's what we found. If you'd like to add to our list, send us your examples.
Flemings Chewy Muesli Bars
"Wholegrain oats", "Source of fibre", "No artificial colours."
Grain Waves Wholegrain Chips
"70% less saturated fat", "Good source of wholegrains"
"50% wholegrain", "10 Vitamins & Minerals", "Source of fibre"
Pams Coco Snaps
"A good source of carbohydrate", "No artificial colours", "No preservatives", "Low in fat", "Good source of vitamins B1, B3, folate & iron"
"High in protein", "Source of calcium", "Good source of B1, B2 & niacin", "Good source of iron"
Nairn's Mini Oatcakes
"Low GI", "No added sugar", "Wholegrain Oats", "Wheat free recipe"
Alfa One Real Mayonnaise
"Good for you, Good for your food"
Blue Coconut Cooking Oil
"100% pure & natural" "The 'good fat' cooking oil", "Has no cholesterol", "Ideal for sports nutrition", "Is not hydrogenated", "Is easily digested", "Has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties"
Arnott's Harvest Wheat crackers
"The wholesome country style wheat cracker", "No artificial colours or preservatives"
Chicken Tonight Simmer Sauce Sweet & Sour
"99% fat free"
We compared foods on total fat, saturated fat, sugar and sodium. We've used nutrient criteria developed by the Australian consumer organisation, Choice. These criteria are based on the latest nutrition recommendations and dietary guidelines established by government health experts in Australia and internationally.
Got a question or comment on this topic? Share your views and experiences with other Consumer members...
Read what our members have to say close
To save money on essentials and make buying decisions easy, you can't go past Consumer. We're proud to have over 65,000 members all enjoying our independent information online or in Consumer magazine.
Here's what some of them say...
"Just wanted to let you know that I find your site excellent! Easy to find my way around, everything at my fingertips - just a click away.
I only took out a 3 month membership as I wasn't sure but it is actually really easy to use and if I want it on paper I can print the
reports. Thanks again".
Denise Watkinson - Waitakere
"My mother (74) got a renewal letter from her insurance company for her car insurance, wanting $570. After reading
your article on car insurance, I contacted one of the companies you recommended, who quoted her $318 for the same
level of cover. I just wanted to stay thank you very much for your article, as it has saved my mother a substantial amount of money".
Adrian Lane - Kapiti Coast
"I've been a member to the magazine since 1997 and enjoy reading it a lot. I've found lots of helpful information on different issues...
Thank you for being so helpful".
Peter Kovalenko - Porirua
"I have been a member of the Consumer NZ for 20 or more years and have enjoyed much reliable advice.
I turn to their tests before making significant purchases".
Lyndal Print – Auckland
Join Consumer now and make your decisions easy on a huge range of products and services
- Over 500 reports, plus interactive tools and calculators
- Independent advice from NZ's trusted source of information
- Join over 65,000 members who help us get all NZers a fairer deal