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73 per cent of people in Wales say all cafes and restaurants should display calories on their menus

** Almost three-quarters of those surveyed back mandatory traffic-light food and drink labelling on packaging **

Almost three quarters (73 percent) of people in Wales believe cafes and restaurants should display calorie information on their menus so that customers understand the content of the food and drink they buy, Diabetes UK Cymru has revealed. 81 percent believe that the same measures should also apply to takeaways.

 

The survey, conducted for Diabetes UK by ComRes, also found that only three in ten people in Wales (32 percent) said they felt well informed about the nutritional information of the food they buy when eating out.

 

It also revealed that 73 percent of people in Wales agree that it should be a legal requirement for the food industry to include traffic light labelling on food and drink packaging.

 

Traffic light labelling assigns a red, amber or green value in relation to fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt, as well as giving information on the calories contained within a product to help consumers make informed decisions about what they eat and drink.

 

Diabetes UK Cymru has revealed these findings to launch its new Food Upfront campaign, through which the charity is calling for:

 

  • The introduction of mandatory front-of-pack traffic light labelling to pre-packaged food and drinks, and
  • Medium-to-large food establishments to provide customers with calorie information on their menus.

 

These steps will help the public make healthier choices at home and while eating out, and in turn, help to stem the rising tide of Type 2 diabetes diagnoses.
 

Around nine in ten of the 191,000 people diagnosed with diabetes in Wales have Type 2 diabetes. It is estimated that there are also almost 60,000 people in Wales currently living with Type 2 diabetes who have yet to be diagnosed.

 

Around 58 percent of adults in Wales are overweight or obese, which is a significant risk factor for Type 2 diabetes.

 

Diabetes UK Cymru says that it is now even more important that nutritional information for food and drink is displayed clearly and consistently, so people know what is in the food and drink they buy. 

 

Effective food labelling is also vital for people living with diabetes, to help them manage their condition and reduce their risk of serious complications. In an earlier survey from Diabetes UK, almost three quarters of UK respondents (73 per cent) said that if all companies used the same food labelling system, it would help them to make healthier choices1.

 

Knowing the carbohydrate content of food is also essential for people with diabetes who make adjustments to their insulin dose by counting their carbs. That’s why, as part of the Food Upfront campaign, Diabetes UK Cymru is also calling for carbohydrate content per portion to be displayed clearly and consistently on all pre-packaged foods and drinks.

 

Currently, front-of-pack traffic light labelling and calorie labelling is not mandatory, and one in three products in shops do not have traffic light labels2. Independent evidence shows that the traffic light system works better than other labels to help shoppers make healthy choices when buying food3. There is also evidence that calorie labelling on menus in restaurants and cafes could help people to reduce the number of calories they consume4.

 

Dai Williams, National Director, Diabetes UK Cymru, said: “People living with diabetes have told us that they want more information about what’s in the food and drink they buy, and clear, effective food labelling will help make it easier for them to manage their condition well, especially when they are out and about.

 

“We also know that clear and consistent food labelling can help all of us to make informed and healthy choices. With over half of adults in Wales classed as overweight or obese, and therefore at increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, it is really important that we have measures in place that make it easier for all of us to lead healthier lives.

 

“That’s why we wholeheartedly support this call for mandatory traffic light labelling, and to make it compulsory for restaurants, cafes and takeaways to clearly display the calorie information on their menus. The results of this survey clearly show the Welsh public overwhelmingly support this move, so we are calling for a clear commitment to the health of the nation by implementing these measures.”

 

For more information about the Food Upfront campaign, please visit www.diabetes.org.uk/get_involved/campaigning/food-upfront-campaign .

 
We know it's not easy to find out what’s in your food. 9 out of 10 people say clearer food labelling would help them make healthier food choices. Evidence shows that clear food labels help us make better choices and give us more control over the food we buy. For people with diabetes, knowing how many carbs, calories and sugars there are in just one meal can be crucial. Yet food labelling is not compulsory, and 1 in 3 food products don’t have front-of-pack labels at all.