The Nutri-Score is a relatively new system for nutritional labelling of foods. The Nutri-Score is divided into a five-level colour and letter scale and is clearly visible on the front of food packaging.
The colour scale ranges from dark green to red and includes the letters A up to and including E. Dark green, or A, means that the food awarded is of the highest quality and is of healthy nutritional value. An E identifies foods as disadvantageous or rather unhealthy.
The Nutri-Score traffic light system
The concept of the Nutri-Score was developed on a scientific basis by nutritionists from France and the UK and introduced in France in 2017. A study published in 2017 shows that consumers found this type of nutrition labeling particularly understandable. Further, they felt that the Nutri-Score could positively influence their food choices.
Four models were available for discussion:
- the Nutri-Score from France,
- the keyhole model (Keyhole®) from Scandinavia,
- a model of the Federal Institute of Food Law and Food Science (BLL) and
- a proposal from the Max Rubner Institute (MRI).
Fifty-seven percent of respondents were in favor of the Nutri-Score. This was followed by the MRI model in second place with 28 percent, third place was taken by the Keyhole® model, and bringing up the rear was the BLL model.
How do you calculate the Nutri-Score?
The Nutri-Score is determined on the basis of a quantity of 100 g or 100 ml for soups and beverages. For the calculation, the amount of certain unfavorable and favorable ingredients as well as the number of calories of a food is determined and offset against each other. Ingredients that have an unfavorable effect include:
- too high energy content,
- saturated fatty acids and
The nutritional values that have a positive effect include protein and fibre, as well as the respective proportions of fruit, vegetables and nuts. This excludes syrups.
Each nutritional content is assigned points from zero to ten in the unfavorable case and points from zero to five in the favorable case. After accounting for all ingredients, the total score ranges from -15 to +40. So in the end, the lower the score, the higher the nutritional quality. The following is an overview:
Various organisations speak out in favour of the Nutri-Score
Consumers aren’t the only ones in favor of the Nutri-Score for the most part. The European Consumer Association, German consumer centres, the consumer organisation Foodwatch and others are also in favour of this traffic light system. In addition, Foodwatch presented a representative Forsa survey in cooperation with the Federal Association of Paediatricians and the German Diabetes Society.
There, 1003 participants were surveyed, but they only had to choose between the Nutri-Score and the MRI model. The results speak for themselves: 69 percent of the respondents felt that the Nutri-Score was a better system for orientation.
The Nutri-Score can now be found on the food packaging of various companies such as Bofrost, Danone, Iglo, McCain, Mestemacher and Nestlé. It should be noted, however, that this traffic light system does not indicate whether a food is healthy or unhealthy. This is because only foodstuffs that are safe in terms of health may be placed on the market.
Nutri-Score: Pro fruit and vegetables, contra sugar and fat
The Nutri-Score evaluates not only individual components such as sugar or fat, but also the fruit or vegetable content in a food. The Nutri-Score tells whether and how much a food can contribute to the daily diet. Processed foods that have a favorable Nutri Score should ideally be consumed more frequently than those with an unfavorable score. From this result it can be deduced that sweet foods and beverages should be consumed less frequently.
Do not be stupid, but mindful feeding and sweetening
Too much sugar and too many carbohydrates not only make you fat, but also damage your heart and brain. However, far too many Germans still eat excessive amounts of sugar. At the University of New South Wales, a nutritionist is researching how processes in the brains of diabetics and overweight people change. After one experiment, she examined the brains of rats and found massive inflammation in the hippocampus. This part of the brain is central to spatial memories.
Ehlert helps sweeten food mindfully
To ensure that your food is not detrimental and given an unfavorable Nutri-Score, the processing of sugars plays a crucial role. Ehlert offers a wide range of different sugars and sweeteners in its online shop. In the category sweeteners you will find various types of sweeteners such as lactose, dried glucose syrup, maltodextrin or starch. Please feel free to have a look around in the Ehlert shop! There you will also find further information on sweeteners and sugar substitutes.