A woman checks food labels in a supermarket

Adults’ views on PACE labelling

Participants reported that they preferred traffic light labelling to PACE labelling (43% vs 33%), however they also reported finding PACE labelling easier to understand than traffic light labelling (41% vs 27%), more eye catching (49% vs 31%) and more likely to help them avoid high calorie food (44% vs 28%).

Evidence shows that PACE labelling may be effective in reducing the amount of calories the public consume but the research has not explored their opinions about PACE labelling. Understanding the public’s views will help to maximise the impact of PACE labelling in eating and food contexts and guide decisions about how to allocate resources.

4,000 panellists were randomly invited to compare their views about traffic light and PACE labelling preferences via the UK Ipsos Knowledge Panel, with 2,668 adults sharing their thoughts.

Most participants found traffic light labelling was easy to understand, but not effective in preventing them from consuming food and drinks that were high in calories. PACE labelling was considered easy to understand and most participants thought they would be likely to use it to help them decide what to eat.

Participants showed a high level of acceptability for PACE labelling to be displayed in fast food outlets, supermarkets, takeaway/online menus and vending machines, which typically sell high energy dense food and drinks, contributing substantially to overweight and obesity.

What next?

The implementation of PACE labelling may act as a nudge for the food industry to resize and/or reformulate their food products, particularly those high in calories.

Citation details

Daley AJ, Kettle VE, Roalfe AK, Implementing physical activity calorie equivalent (PACE) food labelling: Views of a nationally representative sample of adults in the United Kingdom. PLoS ONE 18(9): e0290509. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0290509


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Amanda Daley

Professor Amanda Daley

Professor of Behavioural Medicine, Centre Director