Traffic light labelling in food

Confused about food labelling? Want to try and give your family a healthy diet, but get confused by all the tables, percentages and numbers on the back of food packaging? Then use our simple guide to the colour-coded traffic light system to get your head round it.

The traffic light system was introduced by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) so we could tell at a glance what’s in the food we buy at the supermarket.

The red, green and yellow coding shows us how much fat, saturates, sugar and salt is in our food. These are the four things we should all be careful not to eat too much of, in order to have a healthy diet.

Based on the Guideline Daily Amounts for women, the system quite simply shows whether the food contains a high (red), medium (yellow) or low (green) amounts of the four food types.

In real terms, try to choose things with more green on them than anything else and treat anything with a red label as a treat. Yellow choices are OK most of the time.

Your Guideline Daily Amounts

It’s suggested that women consume 90g of sugar, 20g of saturates, 6g of salt and 70g of fat a day, based on an in-take of 2,000 calories a day.

The ranges in the traffic light system

Fat: Per 100g Green – under 3g
Yellow – 3.1-20g Red – over 20.1g

Saturates: Per 100g Green – under 1.5g Yellow – 1.6-5g Red – over 5.1g

Sugars: Per 100g Green – under 5g Yellow – 5.1g-12.5g Red – over 12.6g

Salt: Per 100g Green – under 0.3g Yellow – 0.4-1.5g Red – over 1.5g

More information about food labels.

Where to next?

Low Salt Diet
Low-fat diets
Low-calorie diets
Low-carb diets

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