Major retailers and FMCG giants, like Ahold Delhaize, Carrefour, Danone and Nestlé, have joined forces to demand Nutri-Score is made obligatory in Europe. The simple five-level code is thought to help the fight against obesity.
The food label is currently not mandatory: brands can choose freely whether they display it on their packaging. However, a group of forty international food producers, food retailers, consumer organisations and scientific institutions now want to make the label a spearhead in the battle against obesity. In a letter to European Commissioner Stella Kyriakides, along with the hashtag #Nutri-ScoreNow, they ask that the label be made mandatory in the whole European Union: this should help consumers make healthier and more informed food choices.
According to Ivo Mechels, CEO of Belgian consumer organisation Test-Aankoop, a number of studies in different countries have shown that Nutri-Score is the most understandable system for customers, and therefore the most efficient comparison tool when it comes to nutritional values. "The results have been proven: applying the Nutri-Score on products directly improves food quality in the shopping basket." Mechels therefore supports the campaign to make the label obligatory.
Nestlé is one of the main supporters of the system, and has changed its products for the healthier accordingly. The FMCG giant has introduced Nutri-Score in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany and Switzerland. At the end of the year, all cereals aimed at children and 45 % of all cereals should have the Nutri-Score A or B. In two years' time, almost 400 products in all product categories should have the label.
The Nutri-Score was developed in France, and uses five colours (green to red) and five letters (A to E) to show whether using a product is encouraged or should be discouraged. The label is used already in Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland.