The five point colour scale shows consumers at a glance how healthy a product is, from a green A to a red E.
The new scheme was launched in May. Its aim is to give a quick overview of the healthfulness of a product. The more sugar, fat and salt it contains, the worse its score. It was introduced by the Ministry for Consumer Protection, with the support of the ULC (Consumer Protection League) and the Chamber of Commerce CLC.
It uses a five-colour scale, with the green A denoting the highest level of quality, the red E the lowest. This makes it easy to compare similar products and see which contains healthier and more nutritious ingredients. As Jean Feyereisen from the ULC explains, the system is more transparent than other labels. "The Nutri-Score always refers to 100g or 100ml. This isn't the case for many other systems, where daily intake is allowed, which of course changes with age, gender and so forth."
The scheme is also used in our neighbouring countries, so many consumers will already have seen it on imported products. Therefore, it made sense to officially introduce it here, as well.
Claude Bizjak, vice director of the CLC, explains that transparency is the most important factor: "You have to use the system that will become prevalent. If the consumer is confronted with many different labels, they will be confused more than anything else. That's counterproductive."
At the moment, the system is still optional for producers and stores. However, if you use it on one product, then it must be displayed on all products of the same brand. The label will become compulsory in the next few years and there are discussions to introduce it EU-wide, says Jeanette Muller, who's responsible for the introduction in Luxembourg.
Studies have shown that the system is easy to understand. One drawback, however, is that producers can potentially cheat as the label cannot take every ingredient into account. Jean Feyereisen: "[producers] can reduce the sugar, fat or salt content and substitute additives that aren't necessarily healthier."
Some actors, the dairy sector for instance, oppose the label, because healthy products can receive a "bad mark", explains Claude Bijzak. Therefore, the system needs to be further refined in order to take the needs of all sectors into account and more accurately reflect the healthfulness of products.