The Nutri-Score is a labeling system for food in German retail that is supposed to show the nutritional quality. It is structured in a similar way to a traffic light system, but in five stages. Everything about the Nutri-Score, how it is calculated, whether it is mandatory and how useful experts find it to be.
At a glance:
What is the Nutri Score?
Since the beginning of November 2020, the Nutri-Score has been approved for labeling food in retail in Germany. The system originally comes from France. It is a five-point scale that uses a calculation algorithm to classify it, which can be found on the front of the packaging. The scale uses colors, similar to a traffic light, from red to green and letters from A to E. This should enable the buyer to see at a glance how nutritious, healthy or unhealthy a food is.
Calculation of the Nutri-Score
Food is calculated for the classification by Nutri-Score according to 100 grams:
positively rated nutrients and ingredients receive negative points
negatively rated nutrients get positive points
Then the negative and positive points are offset. The lower the total number of points, the more positive the overall rating.
Only the overall result can be found on the packaging of the food, but not how it came about. The Nutri-Score does not show individual food components. This is criticized by some food manufacturers because they feel unjustly valued, for example fruit juice manufacturers. There are exceptions to the assessment for cheese, added fat and beverages. For example, the sugar and calorie content of beverages is particularly valued.
Components in food that are rated positively:
Components in food that are rated negatively:
- high calorie content
- saturated fat
Is the Nutri-Score mandatory?
Labeling with the Nutri-Score is voluntary in Germany. EU law prevents mandatory labeling. Many companies already use the Nutri-Score to label their food – however, it is often not used for unhealthy foods.
How useful is the Nutri-Score?
The Nutri-Score is intended to motivate companies to use healthier recipes, so that consumers are more likely to reach for the products and eat healthier and more balanced. In France, since the introduction of the Nutri-Score, some companies have actually improved their recipes.
The German Alliance for Noncommunicable Diseases (DANK) refers to a French study by the Universities of Paris, Grenoble and Borbigny. According to this, a nationwide Nutri-Score in France would reduce the amount of calories consumed by an average of nine percent (around 180 kilocalories less per day), lead to a more balanced diet and thus prevent many deaths from diet-related diseases. According to this study, deaths from cardiovascular disease and cancer could be reduced by 3.4 percent.
Source: Lifeline | Das Gesundheitsportal by www.lifeline.de.
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