Greater availability of low nutritional quality foods and decreased consumption of nutrient-dense foods have negatively impacted the nutrient profile of the Canadian diet. Poor diet is now the leading risk factor for chronic disease and premature death in Canada. To help consumers choose healthful foods, nutrition labelling is one policy tool for communicating relevant nutrition information. However, there are notable shortcomings with current nutrition labelling systems, which make it difficult for Canadians to navigate the complex food environment. Government action on nutrition labelling systems, including front-of-package (FOP), shelf, and menu labelling, is required. In May 2016, we hosted a consensus conference with experts from research, policy and practice to review available evidence, share experiences and come to consensus regarding the next best steps for action on nutrition labelling in Canada. In this paper, we examine the evidence, opportunities and challenges surrounding FOP, shelf, and menu labelling. We outline recommendations, emphasizing FOP, shelf, and menu labelling as part of a standardized, coordinated and multi-pronged strategy supported by a robust, evidence-based nutrition profiling system. Recommendations for monitoring adherence to regulations and participation of stakeholders to avoid conflict of interest in policy development, implementation and evaluation are included. Within a comprehensive strategy, these recommendations can help to improve the nutrition information environment for Canadians.
- Chronic disease
- Food labelling