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New Addition to Food Labels?
Labels are integral components of food packaging, as they contain all the necessary information about a specific food or drink. This includes nutritional and allergy information. And, in what will be a first, exercise labels are seen by many as the next logical step.
Labels already possess the calorie-count of the packaged food or drink. Exercise labels would add an exercise equivalent. For instance, a 245-calorie chocolate bar would take 56 minutes of walking at a brisk pace, or 35 minutes of running, to burn off.
As of now, legislation is still not considering the mandatory addition of these labels, although that could change in the future. After all, many argue that this decision could help countries like the USA and the UK reduce their levels of obesity – a growing problem that is proving difficult to tackle.
These labels could help solve an even more pressing issue: obesity in children. An American study conducted in 2015 with 1000 parents attempts to highlight just how important these labels can be. Individuals were split into four groups with different food menus: no labels, only calories, calories and minutes, or calories and miles needed to walk to burn the calories.
They were then asked to imagine “they were in a fast food restaurant and place an order for their child.” The result of the survey showed that 38% of parents would encourage children to exercise when the labels had calories and minutes, and 37% for calories and miles. Only 20% said the same for the calorie-only labels.
Exercise Labels in the UK
Although the USA are yet to show a concrete interest in adding this information to their food labels, in the UK matters are different. The Royal Society for Public Health is advocating this change as, according to the institution, over two-thirds of adults in the UK are overweight or obese.
They also believe that more than 63% of the population would accept the addition of activity equivalent calories labelling.
At a first glance, it appears that exercise equivalent labels have no downside. However, some believe that consumers might decide to purchase low-calorie, but nutritionally-empty, foods. In addition, if a biscuit and a salad have the same calories, people might be tempted to purchase the biscuit and exercise later: consumers, therefore, might eat unhealthy foods because they knew they could merely burn the calories off.
It is necessary that, before reaching any decisions, all the advantages and disadvantages need to be considered, as navigating the legal requirements of food labelling can also be challenging.
KLBD Kosher understands the importance of proper labelling, which benefits food manufacturers and consumers alike. It is likely to also benefit a country’s public health. To learn more about obtaining your very own kosher labelling, contact a member of our team or give us a call on +44 (0) 20 8343 6255.