Healthy Eating Habits In Asia Encouraged by GDA Nutrition Labels

Monday, September 5th, 2016 | 665 Views

Industry initiatives, such as front-of-pack Guideline Day Amounts (GDA) encouraging consumers to make healthy choices, have been gathering steam in Asian markets.

Front-of-pack GDA labelling is a valuable tool to help people understand more about the nutritional value of the food they eat. Being able to quickly identify the level of calories in a product makes it simple for consumers to focus on the most important factor in managing their energy balance and use this labelling information to make simple changes to improve their diet.

Key findings by Food Industry Asia’s (FIA) GDA Nutrition Labelling Report 2016 showed that out of the 13 members surveyed across 19 Asian markets, 85 percent had rolled out GDA labelling, and more widely across more product categories, a higher GDA adoption since the first study carried out in 2012.

Since then, GDA labelling has become much more common across many markets in Southeast Asia. The adoption of GDA labelling is most prevalent in Singapore with 11 out of 13 members using GDA labels for all or some SKUs (stock keeping units). Malaysia comes in second where 10 members have rolled out GDA labels.

The Philippines has seen the most progress in GDA labelling since 2012; nine members now have GDA labels for all or some SKUs compared to three members previously. Vietnam is also set to see greater GDA labelling with three members indicating their intent to implement labelling in some or all SKUs in the country. All other markets can also expect to see an expansion of GDA labelling to other product categories.

Member companies are also keen on harmonising nutrition labels as GDAs allow companies to have a single label across countries, which facilitates trade and supports consistent labelling for consumers. “FIA members recognise the clear benefits of front-of-pack GDA labelling adoption: GDAs are factual, objective, science-based, and informative,” explained Matt Kovac, executive director of FIA.

“GDA labelling is in line with FIA and members’ beliefs of having monochromatic, fact-based information to consumers. It is very straightforward and clear, which helps consumers make informed dietary choices.”

FIA will develop and launch an informative, online nutrition knowledge centre later this year to offer consumers accessible, easy-to-understand information starting with GDA labelling. The organisation also seeks to create more awareness of nutrition and GDA labelling and provide better nutrition labelling education for consumers through stronger collaborations with local food industry associations, small and medium F&B enterprises, food retailers, supermarket chains, schools, NGOs and policymakers.

“Choosing to adopt labels signifies a company’s responsibility and commitment towards helping consumers make better informed choices,” concluded Mr Kovac.