We developed the NOURISHING framework to highlight where governments need to take action to promote healthy diets and reduce overweight and obesity.
The framework is accompanied by a regularly updated database (last updated 8 May 2019), providing an extensive overview of implemented government policy actions from around the world.
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The evidence suggests people who want to eat well use nutrient lists to choose healthier options. Interpretative labels help them when they find the labels hard to understand. Nutrition labels also create incentives for food manufacturers to reformulate their products, so helping populations more broadly by increasing the availability of food of higher nutritional value.
Clear standards are also needed on the use of nutrient and health claims. Evidence shows these claims alter the perception people have of these products – making it essential that they do not mislead.
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*Most other countries follow Guideline CAC/GL 2-1985 from the Codex Alimentarius Commission in requiring nutrition labels only when a nutrition or health claim is made and/or on food with special dietary uses
Producers and retailers are required by law to provide a list of the nutrient content of pre-packaged food products (with limited exceptions), even in the absence of a nutrition or health claim. The rules define which nutrients must be listed and on what basis (eg per 100g/per serving).
Huang L et al. (2015) A systematic review of the prevalence of nutrition labels and completeness of nutrient declarations on pre-packaged food in China. Journal of Public Health 37(4), 649-658
Added May 2019: On 2018, the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) introduced mandatory measures on calorie labels on menus. These measures apply to all food facilities including restaurants, ice cream parlours, juice and fresh fruit vendors, bakeries, sweets shops, cafeterias, supermarkets, recreation facilities, colleges, universities and government agencies. Calories will be displayed at cashier desks, menu boards, table menus, drive-through menus, phone and web applications.
Empirical estimates show that food prices influence, to a varying degree, how much food people buy. Targeted subsidies have been shown to help overcome affordability barriers to healthy food for people on low incomes. Incentives, like financial rewards or price discounts, have also been shown to encourage people to switch to healthier options.
Emerging evidence from implemented taxes, as well as modelling studies, indicate the potential for effectiveness to reduce consumption. Given food choices are influenced by a whole host of factors, especially in modern, complex food markets, taxes must be designed very carefully to maximise effectiveness.
Please note, $ refers to USD.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Government approved the Excise Tax Law which went into effect on 9 June 2017, and all businesses that import or produce stock of excisable goods are expected to register with the General Authority of Zakat and Tax (GAZT). The excise tax rates imposed by the law are a 100% tax rate on energy drinks and a 50% tax rate on carbonated drinks (including soft drinks, carbonated water, and juice). The rates may differ depending on the nature of the product. For example, carbonated drinks may have different tax rates if they are dispensed as fountain drinks or as cans. GAZT has published a user manual for those required to register for excise tax.