As part of the state government's 8700 kilojoule campaign, NSW premier Barry O'Farrell this morning launched the mandatory kilojoule labelling of ready meals sold in supermarkets.
Ready to eat meals including hot chickens, doughnuts and custard tarts must now display their kilojoule content on their labels, in the hope that it will help to curb Australia's growing obesity problem.
At today's launch O'Farrell was joined by Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson, Minister for Healthy Lifestyles Kevin Humphries and swimming champion, chairman of the Premier's Council for Active Living and 8700kJ campaign ambassador Geoff Huegill.
O'Farrell said, "I believe it is essential consumers are equipped with nutritional information to encourage them to make balanced food choices.
“The NSW government’s 8700kJ initiative is educating consumers about their kilojoule intake by giving them easy access to nutritional information.
“Not only does obesity have a detrimental effect on individuals and their families – it is also estimated to cost the NSW economy about $19 billion a year.”
Woolworths has welcomed the launch, and director of public affairs, Andrew Hall, said "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."
The NSW Food Authority's 8700kJ campaign was launched in March 2012 and comprises an app and a website and is based on the recommended average daily kilojoules intake for adults.
The new labelling requirements of supermarket ready meals follow regulations introduced last year whereby fast food chains with 20 or more outlets in NSW or 50 or more outlets nationally must now display the kilojoule content of all items on their menus.