Five major multinational food companies have decided to act in advance of threatened UK legislation by adopting their own food labelling scheme.

The quintet - Danone, Kellogg's, Kraft, Nestlé and PepsiCo - have agreed standardised labelling that will not only itemise a product's fat, sugar and salt content, but also how much these contribute to official guideline daily intakes.

The five, all members of the UK Food & Drink Federation, say the scheme will launch this spring. Among the leading brands participating are Dairylea, Kit Kat and Walkers Crisps.

F&DF director general Melanie Leeech hailed the news: "It is welcome news that several Food & Drink Federation member companies are now building on [content labelling requirements] by also providing this type of information more prominently on packaging."

But, inevitably, consumer watchdogs are less impressed.

National Consumer Council ceo Ed Mayo dismisses the initiative as "a cynical move to derail" plans by the Food Standards Agency, which plans to launch its own, far tougher, labelling and intake guidelines.

"The decision by these food companies to go their own way is disappointing," avers Mayo. "It will cause confusion for consumers. People need the entire food industry, manufacturers and retailers, to adopt a single consistent labelling scheme to help make healthy choices, easy choices."

Data sourced from BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff