Can I trust 5-a-day food labels?

Government 5-a-day label

Can I trust labels that say the food I am eating contains one of my 5-a-day?

BHF dietitian Victoria Taylor says:

There is an official government 5-a-day logo (pictured), which can be licensed for use on fresh, frozen, tinned or dried fruit and vegetables, juices and smoothies. But this label does not cover ready meals or any foods that combine fruit or vegetables with other ingredients.

Under the government scheme, if a product claims to contain two of your 5-a-day, it must come from at least two different fruits or vegetables, and no product is allowed to claim it offers more than two of your 5-a-day.

If manufacturers claim the product contains two or more portions, this should come from more than one fruit or vegetable

Under the latest guidance, juices and smoothies can only claim to contain one portion (based on a 150ml serving), even if they are made from more than one type of fruit, and even if you drink more than 150ml.

Manufacturers will sometimes make their own claims on food packaging, which are not covered by the government scheme. If they are following the best practice guidelines for the industry, this should mean that the product contains 80g (or more) of fruit or vegetables in one serving.

If they claim the product contains two or more portions, this should come from more than one fruit or vegetable. They should also make sure that the serving size is appropriate and the amounts of saturated fat, salt and sugar are limited. Check the nutrition label to make sure the 5-a-day claim isn’t being used to falsely give the impression that a product is healthy.

Victoria Taylor Meet the expert

Victoria Taylor is a registered dietitian with 20 years’ experience. Her work for the NHS focused on weight management and community programmes for the prevention of cardiovascular disease. She leads the BHF's work on nutrition.

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