The Obesity Policy Coalition has welcomed the Victorian Government's announcement this morning that it will implement mandatory kilojoule labelling in chain fast food outlets and supermarkets across the state.
"Providing kilojoule information at the point of sale is vital for empowering Victorian consumers to make healthier and more informed food choices," OPC Executive Manager Jane Martin said.
"When clear information about the energy content of food is provided, along with education about the energy they need, it supports people to order menu items with fewer kilojoules."
Research conducted around the introduction of kilojoule menu labelling in NSW showed that people ordered meals 15 per cent lower in kilojoules than before the system was introduced1.
Ms Martin said that as part of the new regulations, a supporting education campaign is also needed.
"Education is an essential element of this system as it helps consumers interpret the nutritional information provided and make the healthiest choice available," Ms Martin said.
"The OPC has been advocating for mandatory kilojoule labelling in Victoria for many years because we know that when supported by community education it is a very effective strategy.
"We want to see the Victorian Government commit to a supportive, targeted public education campaign to raise community awareness about dietary energy requirements and to ensure the provision of kilojoule information is understood."
The introduction of kilojoule labelling in Victoria will bring the state in line with New South Wales, the ACT, South Australia and Queensland and ensure consistent nutrition information is provided on menu boards in food outlets in these states.
Ms Martin added: "There is no silver bullet for reducing overweight and obesity. We need a comprehensive strategy with greater investment from state and federal governments to tackle overweight and obesity in Australia."
1 NSW Food Authority July 2013 http://foodauthority.nsw.gov.au/_Documents/scienceandtechnical/fastchoices_evaluation_report.pdf