After its adoption in France and under the approving eye of European regulation INCO 1169, nutri-score is now being integrated into the Belgian market to promote choosing a healthy diet. A simple indicator for providing clearer and more understandable nutritional information to consumers. So is this a blessing or completely bogus? Youmeal investigates.
Nutri-score, nutritional labeling made simple
Nutri-score is a nutritional labeling system. It’s affixed on the packaging of processed food products in the form of a 5-letter and 5-color logo. Its goal is to more clearly inform consumers on the nutritional quality of their shopping cart and therefore promote the adoption of a healthy diet.
Specifically, the nutri-score positions a product on a scale of 5 levels, from most (A, green) to least (E, red) favorable in terms of nutrition.
To accomplish this, it takes into account, for 100 grams of product, the content:
- in terms of nutrients to promote: fiber, protein, fruits and vegetables
- in terms of nutrients to reduce: energy, saturated fatty acids, sugars, salt
Advantages and disadvantages of nutri-score
What does the agri-business industry think of nutri-score? Well, the least we can say is that it certainly adds a lot of red tape. Some groups also accuse it of stigmatizing their food products. At the same time, consumer associations have doubts about its methods of calculation.
Nutri-score is the first step towards clear food information. It has the advantage of being very visual and easy to understand to facilitate comparison between various food products.
Its simplicity is also its weakness. Nutri-score doesn’t take into account micro-nutritional data (vitamins and minerals) except in a superficial way via the proportions of vegetables and fruits. Yet this information is very important for overall nutritional intake. It also doesn’t warn about the presence of additives such as sweeteners, preservatives or dyes.
Plus, the nutri-score is not suitable for all food products and doesn’t consider them in context or as part of a full day’s balanced nutritional intake. For example: a ham or a jar of honey won’t have a good nutri-score, even though their nutritional contributions are interesting within an overall context of food (no one is going to eat a jar of honey or an entire ham in one sitting!) However, nutri-score makes much more sense for a prepared dish that will be consumed as a full meal. Those within food production are therefore particularly reluctant to use it due to these ambiguities that aren’t fully understood by consumers.
What are the alternatives or supplements to the nutri-score? The eco-health sheet!
Eating well, as part of a healthy and balanced diet and responsible consumption, goes way beyond the scope of the nutri-score analysis.
Eating healthy also means:
- eating sustainably, by controlling the environmental impacts and ecological footprint of our dishes;
- eating balanced, by creating optimized recipes that are wholesome, rich and diversified;
- eating smart, based on enhanced data that is up-to-date and comprehensive, guaranteeing perfect food security;
- eating tolerant, by proposing healthy alternatives adapted to all nutritional profiles.
Youmeal’s eco-health sheet
It’s for these reasons that Youmeal developed an advanced management and food data processing technology intended for professionals and better consumer information. Because we believe that foodtech and artificial intelligence definitely improve the food value chain.
The eco-health sheet is our alternative to nutri-score, which includes:
- macronutrients and micronutrients of the whole dish as a % of the recommended daily dietary intake;
- various recipe preparation parameters that impact nutritional value, such as dosage, hydration or cooking method;
- environmental data for each ingredient, such as the water, land or energy consumption needed for their production.
An example below, shows how Youmeal’s eco-health sheet can significantly improve a recipe made from pasta and fish, with easy modifications.
Want to see it in action instead of just reading about it? You should! Test one of your recipes for free and challenge the nutri-score with our eco-health sheet.