New policy report focuses on front-of-pack labels

The second report in our Building Momentum series shows how to implement front-of-pack food labels in the face of a lack of political will and industry interference

30 January 2019

World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) International’s Building Momentum series takes the lessons learned from governments who have implemented evidence-informed nutrition policies, and collates them with the most up-to-date published literature – succinctly outlining how to design and implement a robust nutrition policy. More action is urgently needed to reduce diet-related non-communicable diseases (NCDs) globally. Front-of-pack labels (FOPL) have been identified as effective and appropriate fiscal policy measures to tackle the growing burden caused by diet-related NCDs, such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

Katie Dain, CEO of NCD Alliance, said:

“This report will be a valuable resource to equip policymakers with practical information about designing and implementing front-of-pack food labelling and how to overcome the challenges they may face, including the tactics used by industry to obstruct and weaken the policy. Civil society advocates around the world will also find the report invaluable, as it bolsters their capacity to make a compelling case for sound nutrition policy.”

FOPL continue to be hotly debated. Strong interests continue to derail and weaken nutrition policy globally, which makes WCRF International’s second report in the Building Momentum series even more timely. This report is a valuable tool as it outlines how to defend FOPL in the face of strong opposition.

Lessons can be learned from countries that have overcome such opposition and implemented interpretive FOPL. More than 30 governments have implemented or supported the development of FOPL, including Chile, Ecuador, Thailand, UK, France, New Zealand and Australia. WCRF International researched what happened on the ground in these countries, among others. We spoke to people at the forefront of policy implementation to take their lessons learned, and provide guidance to other governments about how to design a FOPL that can withstand opposition and garner public support.

The World Health Organization’s Director of the Department of Nutrition for Health and Development, Dr Francesco Branca, said:

"World Cancer Research Fund International’s report aligns with the objectives of the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition by demonstrating the role and responsibility of governments to create environments conducive to healthy living.”

Coming soon

The next report in the Building Momentum series will cover marketing unhealthy food and drink to children – look out for this instalment later this year. You can also read the first report in the series, on sugar sweetened beverage taxes.