UCL Health


Marketing and Labelling of Infant Foods in the UK

This project will review marketing and labelling of infant foods in the UK.

1 July 2022


Infancy and early childhood are a critical time for establishing food preferences and healthy eating patterns.

Misleading marketing and labelling of commercial infant foods may make it more difficult for parents to make healthy food and drink choices for their children. Confusing marketing of infant foods likely exacerbates health inequalities as families with lower incomes are more dependent on commercial infant foods and may be more susceptible to marketing claims. Messaging is not always consistent with guidelines, particularly recommendations to wait until around 6 months to introduce solid foods, and age-appropriate use of snacks. Snacks are an area of concern as many are high in free sugars, which infants and very young children should avoid.

The government’s 2019 Prevention Green Paper makes specific commitments to explore how the marketing and labelling of infant foods can be improved to ensure honesty, transparency and alignment with government feeding advice.


This project will investigate the role of marketing and labelling of commercially available infant foods on carers’ feeding choices, including the impact of experimentally altering labels on feeding choices in the context of age-appropriate feeding guidelines


This study will embrace a mixed methods design. Qualitative interviews will be used to identify elements of packaging that parents find misleading or difficult to understand. Experimental and qualitative research will be used to assess the impact of altering messages on labels, on infant feeding choices, particularly with regard to alignment with UK feeding guidelines.


  • September 2023



> Back to Research projects

The NIHR Policy Research Unit in Healthy Weight is part of the NIHR and hosted by UCL.