A GROUP of Bendigo shoppers have a better understanding of food labels after completing one of Bendigo Health's Healthy Supermarket Tours.
Community dietitian Bree Forrester led a small group of shoppers on a tour through a Coles supermarket on Wednesday morning.
"We're teaching people how to understand claims on packaging and actually read and determine what is a better choice by using the nutrition panel," Ms Forrester said.
The tours are a joint initiative between Bendigo Health and Diabetes Australia Victoria and are designed to promote healthy living.
The tours are suitable for people with pre-diabetes, overweight, high cholesterol or any person who is interested in healthy eating.
Ms Forrester said the tours could be tailored to each group's needs.
"We always ask different groups about what they'd like to learn," she said.
"Breakfast cereals has been something that's been highlighted along with overall label reading.
"Generally we go to the cheese section, margarines, butters, yogurts, breads, breakfast cereals and then anything else we can fit in during the two hours."
Tour participant Sue Banset, 67, said understanding nutritional information was difficult.
"I can't understand the labels," she said.
"I want to be able to understand them.
"I read about the tours in the Bendigo Advertiser and thought they sounded like a good thing.
"We've just started but we've already had a talk and found out about a new tick, the Heart Foundation tick, that's coming out."
Ms Forrester said the response from previous tours was fantastic.
"We usually do evaluations at the end and everyone is happy to make change," she said.
"The average age of these participants have been 40 to 60 so clearly we're going through life choosing food but we're not really sure what we're choosing or how to actually read and understand.
"The information is there but we just don't know what to do with it."
The information is there but we just don't know what to do with it.Bree Forrester
The Supermarket Tours are free for Diabetes Australia – Victoria members or $15 for non-members.
Each participant will receive a show bag that includes a comprehensive pocket-sized healthy shopping guide booklet.
Tour dates are September 18 at Woolworths in Golden Square and November 19 at Coles in Bendigo. To book your place on a tour or to find out more information call 1300 136 588.