Should food packaging show exercise needed to burn off calories?

Posted on 08/04/2016 · Posted in Blog

This week, The Royal Society of Public Health announced its belief that food packaging should carry information on how much exercise is needed to burn off the calories consumed in the product

According to The Daily Telegraph, “Health experts have said that current calorie counts and traffic light systems are too confusing and there is little evidence that they change behaviour.” The RSPH believes that this new approach would considerably alter consumer buying habits over the long term, supporting shoppers in making healthier choices and get fit.

Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the RSPH, said “the aim is to prompt people to be more mindful of the energy they consume and how these calories relate to activities in their everyday lives, to encourage them to be more physically active.”

This announcement follows news of the introduction of a sugar tax in Britain and is part of a wider trend to increase to increase transparency for consumers in the food and drink sector.

However, any new legislation must account for the complexity of the nutritional value of different ingredients and products, differentiating between “good” and “bad” fats and refined and naturally recurring sugars. If not, any changes to policies surrounding product packaging risks increasing confusion rather than reducing it.