Following last year’s French Decree backing the voluntary adoption of “Nutri-Score”, now it is time for Belgium to follow the same footsteps.
A nutrition declaration is already mandatory in the EU in prepacked foods or products containing nutritional and/or health claims. This nutrition labelling comprises detailed information on the energy value, the amounts of fat, saturates, carbohydrate, sugars, protein and salt of a food and is presented as a table. However, this table is often difficult to read for the consumer. In contrast, the “Nutri-Score” labelling system, which is not mandatory, makes the nutrition information more readable and understandable for consumers.
What is “Nutri-Sore” labelling?
It is a five color Front-to-Pack nutrition labelling to help consumers make healthier food choices at the time of purchase. Through a letter and a color scheme, it informs consumers about the nutritional quality of a product. Each product is therefore positioned on a scale with five levels, ranging from A – the most nutritionally favorable product – to E – the least nutritionally favorable product. The category to which the food belongs is highlighted on the logo by a larger letter.
How is this score calculated?
To classify each product, a nutritional profile system was developed which takes into account nutrient content per 100g for food and beverages. The system ranks food in a scale from -15, for the most healthy foods, to +40, for the less healthy foods. The positive points are given based on the content of energy, sugars, saturated fatty acids and salt while the negative points are given based on content of fruit, vegetables and nuts, fiber and protein. After calculation, the score obtained allows to assign a letter and a color to a product.
Benefits of this system?
This nutritional score system allows consumers to situate the nutritional quality of foods in three dimensions meaning, it allows consumers to compare the nutritional values of products across different categories (e.g. biscuits vs dairy products), within the same category and within the same food offered by different brands. Additionally, it works as an incentive for manufactures to reformulate their products towards healthier formulations. Also, it has the potential to support professionals when giving nutritional advice.
At the end the main goal of this labelling system is to support and promote healthier eating habit. If you would like to know more about the effectiveness of “Nutri-Score” labelling please click here.