Ultraprocessed foods hide in flashy packaging

Front labeling proposal has worked to choose healthier options

The average buyer takes approximately 20 seconds to choose which product to buy and take home, according to studies cited by Dr. Lorena Rodríguez, a researcher at the University of Chile. Most of the time this choice is based on the brand, photograph or text that highlights the packaging instead of the content provided by the tables of nutritional value.

This is logical and according to these same studies a nutritionist takes 6 minutes to try to understand the tables of nutritional value located next to or behind the products, in front of people without technical knowledge that uses an average of 20 seconds to make their choice.

For this reason, countries such as Chile and Uruguay have adopted the frontal labeling system, by means of octagon-shaped seals with which high amounts of certain nutrients such as sodium, sugar or trans fats are alerted.

Dra. Lorena Rodríguez de la Universidad de Chile.

“Frontal labeling is the right to know what we are eating,” says Dr. Lorena Rodríguez, a researcher at the University of Chile. The academic, who promoted the approval of this system for ten years in her country, says that awareness is not enough to generate substantive changes in food, but it is necessary to improve people’s food environments, including the advertising of products .

Obesity kills 2.8 million people in Chile. In fact, 1.5 obese people die every hour in the southern country.

Read the full story (in Spanish) here.