Parents are unhappy with the current food labelling system in Australia and are calling on government to take action, making it easier for them to make everyday healthy food choices.

It seems that Marketing magazine has been flexing its telepathy muscles again. The July issue of Marketing goes on sale on 25th June, and our intrepid editor Kylie Flavell has had something to say in her editorial about this very same subject, although Im not sure if the Parents Jury and her would entirely see eye to eye.

And just to freak me out a little more, this morning, I have just finished reading Julian Lees How Good Are You?, where the SMHs marketing reporter attacks firms for their shonky labelling policies. Weird. Check out my review of How Good Are You? coming to this website in time for the launch of the July issue.

Anyway, on with the news.

Results from a national survey released today by The Parents Jury reveal that 85 percent of parents want the government to introduce a compulsory front of pack labelling system. The majority of parents surveyed support the introduction of a traffic light system that clearly shows high, medium and low levels of fats, sugar and sodium at a glance.

The Parents Jury member and mother of two Michelle Hebblewhite, says it is becoming increasingly hard for parents to make healthy food choices for their children due to confusing or unclear food labels.

There are many food products in the supermarket that display misleading food claims on the front of pack which makes it very difficult for parents to easily understand what they are buying. For example, a product may claim to be 99 per cent fat free, but when you read the Nutrition Information Panel you see that it also contains over 30 per cent sugar. Parents need simple, consistent, informative and honest food labels to enable us to make well informed decisions about the food we purchase and eat, Michelle said.

The survey also reveals that parents usually read a food’s ingredients list and Nutrition Information Panel, but they are less likely to make buying decisions based on front of pack claims and endorsements.

When parents do consider claims they are more likely to pay attention to those that say a product has ‘wholegrains’, ‘no added sugar’ or is ‘low GI’, rather than claims of ‘low fat’ or ‘added vitamins and minerals’.

The Newshounds view?

If you take a group of parents who have self-selected on the basis of the fact that they care deeply about issues that might potentially affect their children, then you are likely to find a certain skew in that sample, arent you? I mean, doesnt this group of parents rapidly become a go-to soundbite machine for any issue that parents are meant to care deeply about? How unsurprising is it, for example, to find that the survey results showed that parents usually read a food’s ingredients list and Nutrition Information Panel? Presumably these are not the same parents stuffing chicken dippers down the necks of their screaming brood in a bid to get some peace and quiet at home.