European regulation n° 1169 /2011, also known as the INCO regulation, establishes rules regarding the provision of food information to consumers, allowing the final consumer to get access to basic information such as the nutritional declaration or the list of ingredients. In order to facilitate the understanding of these information, other forms of expression and presentation or voluntary food information may be provided in addition to the mandatory nutrition declaration according to articles 35 to 37 of the INCO regulation.
Following a request from the French Ministry of Health, Santé publique France created a front of pack nutrition labelling system: the Nutri-Score which can be affixed by producers on their products on a voluntary basis. Nutri-Score was developed to facilitate consumers’ understanding of the nutritional information and thus to help them in making informed choices.
Nutri-Score has been first implemented in France in 2017, based on work by the team of Pr Serge Hercberg* as well as a expertise from the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES) and the High Council for Public Health (HCSP). Since then several countries decided to recommend the label: Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
You can read all scientific articles about Nutri-Score here.
What is Nutri-Score about?
- A front-of-pack label that informs about the nutritional quality of a product, in a simplified and complementary way with the mandatory nutritional statement (as stated in the INCO Regulation)
- Based on a five-color nutritional scale: from dark green to dark orange
- Associated with letters , from A to E, to optimize the logo accessibility and understanding by the consumer
How are the points attributed?
The logo is attributed according to the calculation of a single and overall score that takes into account for every 100 gr or 100 mL of food product:
- the amount of nutrients that should be limited: energy, saturated fatty acid, sugars, salt;
- the amount of nutrients and foods that should be encouraged (fibers, proteins, fruits, vegetables, pulse, nuts, and rapeseed, walnut and olive oils).
Obtaining the right to use the logo
The usage right for Nutri-Score is granted for free. Companies wishing to use the Nutri-Score must be registered on one of the following procedures:
- For brands distributed exclusively on the French market, oprators must register on the following website: https://www.demarches-simplifiees.fr/commencer/nutri-score_enregistrement_france.
- For brands distributed in several territories (including France possibly) or in a territory for which the regulator has not established its own application procedure (Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg), operators must register on the following website: https://www.demarches-simplifiees.fr/commencer/ns_international_registration_procedure.
The registration includes:
- identification of the requester and its business;
- the details by brand of categories of products concerned by the use of the logo;
- the commitment to use the logo for all products that they have on the market under the registered mark(s);
- the requester’s commitment to adhere to the Usage Regulation.
An electronic receipt of acknowledgment of the registration will be sent to the Industry actor together with the files allowing the use of the logo. No validation from Santé publique France is required. The logo can be used immediately after the email reception.
- Conditions of Use for the Nutri-Score logo (in English / in French) and appendices:
- Appendix 2 : Graphic Charter (in English / in French)
- Appendix 4 (available here): documentation to be provided to the French Food Quality Observatory (Oqali) via this link. It only applies to brands distributed in France (exclusively or otherwise). The transmission of this file must be done only via this website, and not by email.
- a scientific and technical Q&A (in English / in French)
- The Nutri-Score calculators including a version for the original algorithm (English / in French) and one for the updated algorithm (English version), which can be used to calculate the Nutri-Score of your products (this file should not be sent to Oqali).
For further information
- About the score calculation, the graphic Charter and the ownership of the logo, please contact one of these e-mail address, depending on your case :
- About the file to be provided to Oqali, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We would like to remind you that the transmission of the appendix 4 should not be done by sending it to this email address, but only via this link.
The relevant authorities of France, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland announce the establishment of a transnational coordination mechanism to facilitate the use of the front-of-pack nutrition label Nutri-Score. This cooperation will take place within a Steering committee and a Scientific committee.
The Steering committee held its first meeting on the 25th of January 2021. The Steering committee will coordinate the implementation and the rollout of the Nutri-Score system. The committee brings together representatives from national authorities in charge of the Nutri-Score implementation in each country. Its very purpose is to ease the use of Nutri-Score by food business operators, to reach out to small businesses and to link with the consumers, by implementing efficient and common procedures.
- See the activity report of the transnational governance of Nutri-Score
- See the Mandate of the International Scientific Committee in charge of coordinating the scientific-based update of the Nutri-Score in the context of its European expansion
- See the international commitment of participating countries of Nutri-Score (General agreement & governance structure)
The Scientific committee had its first meeting on the 12th of February 2021. Its task will be to assess the possible evolutions of the Nutri-Score system for better health of the consumers, including the synergy with dietary guidelines.
To do so, the Scientific committee relies on the analysis of the scientific literature and the requests of the Nutri-Score stakeholders. A first call for contributions was published in 2021.
Focus on the revision of the Nutri-Score algorithm
Calls for contributions to develop the Nutri-Score algorithm
A first call for contributions was launched in summer 2021. Operators and consumer associations were able to submit proposals for potential changes to the Nutri-Score algorithm until 15 September 2021.
The requests validated by a two-thirds majority of the members of the steering committee of the 7 countries involved was sent to the experts of the scientific committee for examination.
In order to guarantee the transparency of the work carried out, it was agreed that the requests of the French operators transmitted to the scientific committee would be published on the websites of Santé publique France and the Ministry of Solidarities and Health with their agreement.
- See the list of requests (February 2022)
Reports of the Scientific committee
The scientific committee of the Nutri-Score includes selected experts in the field of nutrition and public health from COEN, exempt from conflicts of interests with industry with the aim of improving the algorithm underlying the Nutri-Score.
During 2021, the group identified and prioritized areas of potential improvement for the algorithm underlying the Nutri-Score, based on a consensus for evidence-based modifications.
Evolution of the algorithm for solid foods and beverages
In a report submitted to the steering committee in June 2022 for solid foods and in February 2023 for beverages, the scientific committee proposed a combination of changes to Nutri-Score’s algorithm. The proposed changes will strengthen the effectiveness of the Nutri-Score in classifying products in accordance with the dietary guidelines of the various countries, and thus guide consumers towards healthier food choices.
In accordance with the mandate of the steering committee, the 7 countries engaged in the European governance of Nutri-Score have met on the 26th of July 2022 and the 30th March 2023 to decide on the modifications of the Nutri-Score algorithm proposed by the scientific committee for solid foods and for beverage respectively. In light of the positive impact of these changes on the classification of foods and beverages by the Nutri-Score, consistently with dietary guidelines, the steering committee voted in favour of adopting these evolutions of the algorithm for solid foods and for beverages.
- See the 2022 report on the changes to the Nutri-Score calculation algorithm for solid foods proposed by the Scientific Committee
- See the 2023 update of the Nutri-Score algorithm for beverages.
Read more :
- The 7 engaged countries in favour of the nutri-score adopt an improved algorithm for food
- 7 European countries committed to facilitate the deployment of the Nutri-Score (press release of February 12, 2021)
- Nutri-Score governance: 3 questions to Anne-Juliette Serry, Head of the Nutrition and Physical Activity Unit at Santé publique France
* Serge Hercberg, President of the French Nutrition and Health Programme (PNNS) and Head of the Nutritional Epidemiology Research Team of the U1153 Inserm/Inra/Cnam/UP13