Most front-of-pack labelling (FOPL) systems operate in high-income countries (HICs) on packaged foods purchased in a supermarket setting. They are developed to encourage industry to reformulate products and consumers to make better choices. Most research on the effectiveness of labelling systems is also drawn from HICs and either focused on industry reformulation or consumer attitudes to labelling systems and purchase intent. There is increased interest in utilising this policy tool in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), but very little evidence on this exists, and there is no consensus as to how such labels could be used in these settings. To explore the role that FOPL and other types of visual cues could play in supporting consumers’ ability to choose nutritious foods in LMICs, GAIN convened three workshops in 2018-2019.
The first gathered industry experts on FOPL to assess the potential relevance of such labels for a typical LMIC context and the applicability of the current evidence base. The workshop concluded that none of the current FOPL systems could be replicated for a LMIC context without adaptation; designing a solution, participants agreed, should be done with a specific context in mind. The second and third workshops built on the earlier findings by working with local stakeholders to envision a solution specific to Pakistan.
Workshop attendees also developed a roadmap for designing a solution and identifying the right stakeholders to engage.