Cross-sector call for Nutri-Score on all foods in EU
Today, nearly 40 stakeholders from across the spectrum – including consumer groups, policy makers, academics, food companies and retailers – are calling for the nutrition label Nutri-Score to become mandatory in the EU. This colour-coded front-of-pack nutritional label is instrumental to support consumers in making healthier food choices.
They have sent a joint letter to the EU Commission, in which they ask for a legislative proposal to introduce the Nutri-Score EU-wide.1
This broad call comes before the EU Commission is due to publish its Farm to Fork Strategy, which aims to make the food system sustainable. As the Strategy also aims to promote healthy food for all, we expect the EU executive to propose an EU-wide front-of-pack nutritional label.
Amid the COVID-19 crisis, the health of EU citizens is more important than ever. While it is imperative to combat the immediate threats posed by the virus, EU policymakers must also address long-term health risks related to unbalanced diets and malnutrition.
Comments from consumer groups:
Monique Goyens, Director General of The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC): “As rates of overweight and obesity remain worryingly high in the EU, it is essential we better equip consumers with tools such as the Nutri-Score to help them to compare products and make healthier choices in the supermarket.”
Ivo Mechels, CEO Euroconsumers (Test Achats (BE), Altroconsumo (IT), Deco Proteste (PT) & OCU (ES)): “Evidence from research conducted in several countries shows that Nutri-Score is the easiest label to understand and the best-performing scheme in aiding consumers to compare the nutritional value of foods across a range of products. And the results are concrete: it really makes consumers’ shopping baskets healthier! This is why we need Nutri-Score on all food in the EU.”
Alain Bazot, President of UFC-Que Choisir (FR): "Although France paved the way for the adoption of Nutri-Score, it remains voluntary and not enough visible in supermarkets. In order to help consumers to make well-informed and healthier choices, we call for a mandatory Nutri-Score at the EU level."
From food companies:
Thomas Gauthier-Lafaye, Europe Public Affairs Director, Danone: “At Danone, we actively promote healthier eating and drinking habits. No system is perfect, but we see Nutri-Score as the best scheme today for people to compare products’ nutritional quality at a glance, also within a category. We therefore support the call to make this color-coded and front-of pack nutritional label mandatory across the EU.”
Bart Vandewaetere, Head of Corporate Communications and Government Relations for Nestlé Zone EMENA: “We started our reformulation journey 20 years ago to make our products healthier. Nutri-Score now offers a clear standard that helps move even faster. For example, 16% of our breakfast cereals in France scored ‘A’ or ‘B’ in 2019. Our ambition is that more than 50% of our breakfast cereals in France are ‘A’ or ‘B’ by end of 2021.”
With one in two European adults overweight or obese – increasing the likelihood of heart disease, diabetes and cancer – stronger action is clearly required to help stem the tide of this public health crisis. Nutritional labelling has been identified by both national governments and international health experts as one of the key policy tools which can be used to support consumers to make informed healthier food choices at-a-glance.
Research conducted in several countries shows Nutri-Score is currently the best-performing scheme. It both aids consumers to compare the nutritional quality of foods across a range of products and to make healthier choices in the supermarket.
- Joint letter to the European Commission, 27.04.2020. French version here.
- 'Five Nutri-Score myths busted' factsheet, BEUC, 2019.
- Nutri-Score factsheet, BEUC, 2019. French version here.
1. Where there is evidence to support that this works best in a national context, flexibility should be maintained for another scheme to be used in addition to the mandatory Nutri-Score.
2. M. Egnell et al., Objective Understanding of Front-of-Package Nutrition Labels: An International Comparative Experimental Study across 12 Countries, Nutrients, October 2018, 10 (10): 1542.
BEUC: Pauline Constant, firstname.lastname@example.org
Test Achats/Test Aankoop: Julie Frère, JFrere@test-achats.be
UFC-Que Choisir: Marie-Christine Brument, email@example.com
Danone: Thomas Gauthier-Lafaye, Thomas.GAUTHIER-LAFAYE@danone.com
Nestlé: Bart Vandewaetere, Bart.Vandewaetere@be.nestle.com