Supermarkets forced to put kilojoule labels on ready-to-eat meals

Doughnuts, custard tarts, hot chickens and other ready-to-eat supermarket meals will now come with a label displaying their kilojoule content in the hope consumers will think twice before indulging.

NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell launched the mandatory labelling on Tuesday morning as part of the government's 8700 kilojoule campaign, aimed at providing consumers with more information about what they eat.

“It is my view that people who want to lose weight and get healthier need to take personal responsibility for their food and lifestyle choices,” Mr O'Farrell said.

“But I believe it is essential consumers are equipped with nutritional information to encourage them to make balanced food choices."

Obesity cost the NSW economy about $19 billion each year, he said.

The 8700 kilojoule campaign is named after the recommended average daily kilojoule intake for an adult, with a smartphone app of the same name available to help people monitor their intake.

Woolworths director of public affairs, Andrew Hall, welcomed the roll-out.

“At a glance customers can now see the energy value of many popular ready-to-eat items and make a decision on how those products can fit into their daily energy needs,” Mr Hall said.

The Heart Foundation said anything that helped people understand what they were eating and its nutritional components was a positive move.

Fast food chains with 20 or more outlets in NSW or 50 or more outlets nationally have been required to display the kilojoule content of all items on their menus since February last year. The labelling of ready-to-eat meals in supermarkets is the next phase of government efforts to inform consumers and curb obesity rates.

Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics last year found more than 60 per cent of Australians are overweight or obese, with nearly 70 per cent doing little to no exercise.

The story Supermarkets forced to put kilojoule labels on ready-to-eat meals first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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