The Heart Foundation has launched “Two Ticks”. This is an addition to its single Tick, which we’ve seen on packaged foods for more than 20 years.
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The Two Ticks logo can be used on the four major food groups. These are the “core foods” we should be eating every day for good health: fruit and vegetables; wholegrain breads and cereals; low-fat milk products; legumes, lean meat, poultry and seafood.
The Two Tick programme looks at the food as a whole rather than focusing on specific nutrients – and the Two Tick foods must meet stricter nutrition criteria than foods with the single Tick. Two Ticks also includes a sugar criterion for some food categories.
The single Tick has a different role. It helps consumers make a healthier choice within a food category and it’s on a range of products from snack bars to sauces. Many of these foods aren’t for everyday eating: the single Tick isn’t an excuse to eat as much of the product as you like.
A product with a Tick or Two Ticks will be as good as it claims, because it must be independently tested as part of the Tick programmes. However, manufacturers pay a fee to use the Tick or the Two Ticks – which means other products that don’t display a Tick can be as good or better. Check the nutrition information panels to compare one product with another.
The Heart Foundation says its Tick programmes will complement the new “health star” front-of-pack labelling system because they’ll offer an extra level of information about foods that show the same number of health stars.
You can expect to start seeing products with the Two Ticks on supermarket shelves by the end of the year. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the roll-out of the new health star system and the Two Ticks to make sure consumers aren’t bamboozled by too many logos and symbols.