French food label Nutri-Score does not only help consumers to make healthier choices, but it actually encourages producers to make their products healthier in order to receive a better score, a Belgian consumer organisation says.
Snacks and cereals
Test-Aankoop calculated the scores of over 700 snacks and breakfast cereals last year, and has now released a report that several producers have changed their products' ingredients in order to improve their score. "Our updated consumer guide reports a significant improvement of a lot of children's snacks and cereals", the organisation says on its website. The products concerned now have lower levels of sugars, saturated fats and salt, and a higher level of fibres. The improvements have been reported in both private labels and major brands.
The organisation does state its regret that the Nutri-Score is not (yet) mandatory: "In order to have the most effect, the label should be mandatory on each packaging of processed food. Unfortunately, some major companies refuse to tag along, meaning the label is (so far) only found on just one out of every five products." Test-Aankoop is part of a group of consumer organisations that want to make the food label mandatory across the European Union.
The Nutri-score label uses a colour and a letter to show in how much a product contributes to a healthy food pattern, and considers both ingredients that are favourable (like fibres and proteins) as those that are less so (like saturated fat, sugar and salt). The overall score is put on a scale from A (green, very healthy) to E (red, to be avoided).