Variations on front of pack labels

The changes to food and drink labelling required under European law mean that labels will be more consistent, both across brands but also across retailers (supermarkets).

While most information is decided by the European law, some parts of food and drink labelling are still voluntary – this includes colour-coding.

 As well as the information already covered in the previous pages, some labels will have a traffic light colour (red, amber and/or green) in addition to the nutrition and Reference Intake information.

The colour coding provides an indication of whether there is a high, medium or low amount of the nutrient per 100 grams / 100mls. Red means the food contains a high amount, amber a medium amount, and green if the food contains a low amount per 100g. The amounts for each nutrient and the colours this equates to are given below. Note: energy, or calories, is not given a colour coding.

If you are interested in finding out more about colour-coding and the cut-offs which underpin each colour, please look at the Department of Health guidance on creating a front of pack nutrition label.

The label below demonstrates how colour coding on front of pack might look:

Example of front of pack labels

Products can have the same colour but still have different nutrition information (see 'fat' on the label above), but the colours can be used to make it easier to choose between products.

Last reviewed: 28 Aug 2020