Nestlé implements Nutri-Score system in Southern Europe

21 Jun 2020

Nestlé has extended the use of the French-based Nutri-Score system to its products sold in Spain and Portugal. With this initial rollout, the scoring system will be printed on breakfast cereals Fitness Original, Nesquik Alphabet and Chocapic Bio as well as Garden Gourmet plant-based food.

In Spain and Portugal the number of products using this labeling system will continue to expand to incorporate the entirety of the Nestlé portfolio over the course of two years. Additionally, Cereal Partners Worldwide, the international breakfast venture between Nestlé and General Mills, will also implement Nutri-Score on its product packaging in the same countries.

Nestlé implements Nutri-Score system in Southern Europe
Photo Courtesy of Nestlé

Nutri-Score is now on Nestlé products in eight countries: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland. The Swiss CPG giant has publicly supported the labeling system and was part of a coalition that issued a call in April for Nutri-Score to become the standard across the European Union. Nutri-Score is currently only applied on a voluntary basis.

This color-coded system, which debuted in France in 2017, is gaining popularity in continental Europe. Using a bar featuring a green to red color gradient, it gives a score ranging from A (healthier choices) to E (less healthy choices). Studies have indicated that this front-of-pack labeling scheme has been successful in helping consumers select healthier choices at a glance.

However, there is still some resistance to this approach, and the European Commission did not endorse this scheme in its recently-released Farm to Fork strategy. Instead, the Commission noted that it will propose a harmonized label solution by the end of 2022.

Although Germany is on the list of countries where Nestlé has implemented its Nutri-Score system, the German Sugar Industry Association spoke out against the method saying that the algorithm used to evaluate a product’s score could mislead consumers. Similarly, the Italian government said that the labeling system singles out traditional Italian products such as Parmigiano Reggiano and extra virgin olive oil as unhealthy due to their fat and calorie content.

Despite this criticism, Nestlé remains committed to implementing this system. With the introduction of the Spanish and Portuguese markets into its labeling scheme, the company now has over 7,500 products across Europe using this visual system. Likely the march toward Nestlé Nutri-Score standardization will continue. “Nutri-Score works with consumers in Europe and it has the potential to become the EU-wide system," said Marco Settembri, Nestlé CEO for Zone Europe, Middle East and North Africa said in a statement.

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