The method of calculating the Nutri-Score, the nutritional labeling imposed in France and other European countries, will change from the end of 2023 to better take into account knowledge of food and health, announced Monday health authorities. “This new algorithm will strengthen the effectiveness of Nutri-Score to classify foods and drinks in line with the main dietary recommendations of European countries and guide consumers towards informed choices favorable to their health,” said in a joint press release the health or agri-food authorities of several countries, including France and Germany.
Nutri-Score is a labeling system which aims to inform consumers about the health benefits or disadvantages of foods sold in stores. With its stickers ranging from green to red matched with the letters from A to E, this system is in force in six European countries: Germany, Belgium, Spain, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland.
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However, it is not extended to the entire European Union in the face, in particular, of lobbying from countries, such as Italy, keen to defend the interests of their agri-food sector. Even among its promoters, the Nutri-Score, launched in 2017, has been the subject of criticism which, without calling into question its merits, relates to the obsolete or inappropriate nature of some of its recommendations.
It is with this in mind that those responsible for Nutri-Score revised its calculation algorithm in two stages. After a first step last year on solid foods - poultry will thus be better classified than red meats - the steering committee has just completed its work on the beverages section. This update will, for example, be less likely to recommend drinks based on sweeteners - such as Diet Coke -, noting that recent studies do not show a crucial advantage over traditional sugars.
Now, the six countries concerned must introduce these changes into their regulations. “The countries have agreed on a coordinated implementation of the new algorithm (...) by the end of 2023,” the press release specifies. The companies concerned will then have two years to adapt their labeling.