October 22, 2022
FOPL is a form of supplementary nutrition information that presents simplified nutrition information on the front-of-pack of pre-packaged foods. It is comprised of a nutrient profile model that considers the overall nutrition quality of the product or the nutrients of concern for NCDs (or both).
FOPL presents simple, often visual information on the nutrient content or nutritional quality of products to complement the more detailed nutrient declarations usually provided on the back of the package.
To know more about FOPL read Front of Pack Labelling in India
A front-of-package label is a tool for influencing consumer behaviour to alter dietary choices and reduce vulnerability to lifestyle related disorders like diabetes, obesity, hypertension, etc. Research evidence suggests that FOPL makes nutrition information more accessible to consumers. Using FOPL, consumers can make informed and healthy food choices. They can pick food items that are low in negative nutrients like saturated fats, trans fats, sugar, and sodium, and higher in positive ingredients and nutrients like fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, protein and fibre.
FOPL is regarded as the most effective policy solution which can inform consumers about the nutrition quotient in an easy-to-understand manner and encourage the purchase of healthier packaged food products.
A generation of consumers will grow up making mindful choices of the food they consume based on nutrition quality indicators of FOPL and its underlying impact on health. FOPL is a step towards building nutrition literacy amongst people.
Research has demonstrated consistently that consumers do not engage in extended mental effort in purchase situations. Their major goal, especially in repetitive decisions is to make a satisfactory choice while minimizing intellectual effort.
A typical shopping trip involves numerous decisions and consumers do not invest a great deal of time and effort in decisions. Food purchase decisions are made in a very short time frame. FOPL system quickly captures consumers’ attention with Rating Systems and shorthand information on the nutrition quality of food products.
Descriptive labelling highlights the % contribution of healthy ingredients in food (FVNLM), and the % RDA of negative (fat, sugars, salt) and positive nutrients (protein and fibre) thus clearly bringing consumer focus to factors of consideration and discretion in the choice of food products across categories. These correlations will help consumers build nutrition intelligence that is expected to bring habit-changing shifts in consumer lives.
Indian Nutrition Rating enables consumers to compare the nutritional quality of food products across different brands to assess the nutritional value of each. This ability to compare products based on scientific evidence is the true empowerment of a transparent labelling ecosystem.
FOPL will be able to ease the cognitive effort to process nutrition information and improve the objective understanding of nutrition information with the use of eye-catching design. Improving the information available in the food system, people’s access to information and people’s capacity to effectively use information can allow individuals to become more health-literate and nutrition-literate.
FOPL is expected to have beneficial effects by encouraging the purchase of more healthful products, reducing the purchase of less healthful options, improving overall nutritional quality, and reducing the energy, sodium/salt, fat, and saturated fat content of processed foods and drinks purchased.
Segments of populations with certain disease conditions where nutrition has to be modified can turn to FOPL ratings to guide their judgment on what to buy.
Parents can make better decisions with regard to what they buy for their kids. These healthier decisions will go a long way in ensuring a strong, thriving and fit new generation.
This display of star rating will also motivate and nudge food manufacturers to innovate healthier formulations of processed foods for better nutrition ratings and favourable consumer opinion about brands. Consumer preference will grow for brands that consistently formulate and make healthier food products available for the masses.
The biggest purpose this initiative of displaying FOPL will fulfil is to trigger a conversation in the consumer community resulting in aware and conscious consumers. Empowering consumers with transparent labels is a big step in the fight against lifestyle-related disorders; a monumental step towards a healthy India.
Sonika Sharma (MSc Food & Nutrition)
Sonika has worked with FMCGs as a market nutritionist for over 4 years. Apart from her interest in everything food and nutrition, she also enjoys reading and travelling.