MANCHESTER: A controversial 'traffic light' food labelling system, recommended by UK regulator the Food Standards Agency to indicate the healthy or otherwise contents of shopping carts, has been adopted by another major retailer, the Co-Operative Group.

The Co-Op's 1,700 stores are using the green/amber/red labelling on their own-brand products to indicate the amounts of salt, fats and sugar they contain.

Comments group director of food retail marketing Debbie Robinson: "The Co-Op . . . believes the FSA's front-of pack traffic light labelling scheme represents a real step forward in helping consumers understand the nutritional value of foods and its contribution to a balanced diet."

The voluntary scheme has also won the approval of food companies New Covent Garden Food and McCain which have revamped their packaging to include the traffic lights.

However, the scheme is not universally popular and has been boycotted by dominant supermarket giant Tesco and smaller rival Morrisons, among others, which have opted for their own labelling formats [WARC: 13-Mar-06].

The FSA last week launched a TV commercial to promote the traffic lights system, following moves by several major food manufacturers to run an advertising campaign pushing their own labelling alternative [WARC News: 06-Sept-06].

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff