On November 17, 2020, the Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture of Germany announced the implementation of the “Nutri-Score labelling scheme”.
The model is a simplified indication rating the nutritional composition of a food. The scheme aims to assist consumers in the identification of healthier choices.
The scope of the documents outlines the following:
A voluntary approach and not mandatory for Food business operators.
The combined scale of colors of letters from a Green A to a Red E designed to make it easier for consumers to recognize and compare the nutritional quality of products.
Classifies food and beverages according to the nutritional profile using the color-coded system ranging from A (healthier choices) to E (less healthy choices)
The evaluation is carried out using an algorithm which awards “plus points” for nutritionally beneficial ingredients of foods (fibre, protein, fruit, vegetables or nuts) and “minus points” for ingredients whose excessive intake is associated with an increased risk of disease (saturates, salt and sugar)
The total number of points computed in this manner is in turn converted into a specific color of the Nutri-Score label resembling a traffic light.
The packaging does not contain information about how the overall assessment is arrived only the label being the result of the computation is presented.
The different colors and letters inevitably suggest the consumer whether the food is “good” or “bad” in terms of nutritional value.
Nutri-Score does not provide any information as to whether a given food product is healthy or unhealthy, since only foodstuffs which are harmless to health may be placed on the market at all.
Nutri-Score does not provide any guidance as to the generally balanced diet (in contrast to e.g. the DGE nutritional recommendations). It must therefore be indeed critically questioned whether a mere colour and letter scale without any comment can really serve the purpose of promoting a healthy diet.