A guide to traffic light labelling

A guide to traffic light labelling

Evidence shows that clear food labels help us make better choices and give us more control over the food we buy.

Sometimes it feels like you need a degree in nutrition to decipher what is in food products. Labelling using colour-coding and the words ‘high’, ‘medium’ and ‘low’ helps us to quickly understand what’s in the food we’re buying and compare different products, so that we can make informed choices.

With traffic light labelling we can tell at a glance if the products contains high, medium or low amounts of fat, sugar and salt.

  • Red means high
  • Amber means medium
  • Green means low

The more green labels – the better! Eating foods labelled with amber is okay every now and then. Foods with lots of red should only be eaten occasionally as red on the label means that this product is high in fat, salt or sugar - ingredients that we should be trying not to eat too much of.

Be aware that low-fat products, like yogurts, are sometimes high in sugar to make
up for the lack of fat.

All foods have a part in a balanced diet, but with traffic light labelling we can see how they fit into the rest of our diet and whether to have them often or occasionally. That's why we think that traffic light labelling should be compulsory - so that we can immediately get transparent information of what is in our food.

Check out these resources for more information from Diabetes UK:

Understanding food labels
‘Food labels made easy’ guide
A downloadable 'Food labels made easy' guide (PDF)

Share this