Major manufacturers and retailers have signed up to using a new front-of-pack food labelling system, which combines traffic lights and nutritional information.

Public health minister Anna Soubry said people would now find it easier to make healthier choices about the food they eat.

The ‘consistent’ system will use red, amber, green colour-coding alongside nutritional information to show how much fat, saturated fat, salt and sugar, and calories are in food products.

Mars UK, Nestle UK, PepsiCo UK, Premier Foods and Britvic are among the suppliers who have signed up to the system, joining retailers including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, The Co-operative and Waitrose.

A new survey by The Co-operative found that 70% of women claim to look at food labels, with 55% checking traffic lights and 76% examining product ingredients before they buy.

Some 40% of women and 30% of men say that ‘red’ traffic lights have stopped them from purchasing a product because it contained too much fat, salt or sugar. The Co-op adopted the traffic light scheme in 2006.

Soubry said the UK already had the largest number of products using a front of pack label in Europe, but people got confused by the variety of labels that are used.

“Research shows that, of all the current schemes, people like this label the most and they can use the information to make healthier choices,” she added.

“By having all major retailers and manufacturers signed up to the consistent label, we will all be able to see at a glance what is in our food – this is why I want to see more manufacturers signing up and using the label.”