The time seems increasingly close when Europe could decide to adopt a single food label in all member countries. Among the various proposals, the most cited remains the Nutri-Score – now also supported by a new EU report – already adopted in France but much criticized in particular by Italian producers
Europe must decide by 2022 to equip all food products in EU countries with the so-called traffic light label, precisely the French Nutri-Score, which seems to be the absolute favorite at the moment, even after the publication of a new report from the JRC (Joint Research Center of the European Commission).
The report indeed promotes this food label marked with letters and colors which, according to experts, is immediately understood by the consumer.
On the contrary, the Italian proposal of the NutrInform battery was “rejected” by the JRC experts, because in addition to being monochromatic, it is not of simple but rather complex impact.
The JRC report, as we have said, instead rewards the Nutri-Score which, at this stage, could soon become the Community nutrition label.
The report was based on four scientific studies aimed at identifying the best labeling proposal for food products in the EU and in the end – after analyzing a lot of data – it is convinced that consumers value a label like Nutri-Score more . This, being on the front of the package and showing nutritional information quickly and easily in color, can help you make more informed purchases.
The trend is therefore to opt for a food label that is immediately understandable by the consumer and therefore requires less processing. As we read in the report:
In general, consumers, including low-income ones, seem to prefer simple, colorful, synthetic labels that are easier to understand than monochromatic, complex, non-evaluative labels.
The report also believes that Nutri-Score can promote a healthier diet, and even convince companies to reduce the amount of controversial ingredients such as salt, sugar or fat in their products. The problem with this label, however, from an Italian point of view, is that it penalizes certain “made in Italy” products too much, without taking into account the actual use of this particular food in the diet.
Italy is not suitable
As we said, the Italian proposal or the NutrInform battery has been substantially “rejected”, because it is difficult for the consumer to understand, but the Italian government that proposed it does not think so and rather considers it more precise and comprehensive. This idea is also the Italian producers who risk seeing certain typical products seriously penalised.
The Nutri-Score, in fact, simplifies a bit too much, evaluating the nutrients per 100 grams of product and in some cases arriving at decidedly “high” overall judgments. An example above all is extra virgin olive oil, which this type of labeling considers less healthy than a sugar-free soft drink (but it is obvious that this is not the case).
Like, how commented the President of Coldiretti Cuneo, Enrico Nada:
The Nutriscore is a misleading, discriminatory and incomplete labeling system that paradoxically ends up excluding from the diet the healthy and natural foods that have been on the tables for centuries in favor of artificial products, the recipe of which in some cases is not even known. In Europe, we must continue the battle against Nutriscore, alarmist labeling systems at traffic lights that focus exclusively on a very limited number of nutrients (eg sugar, fat and salt) and on energy intake without taking into account portions, paradoxically excluding from food as up to 85% in value of Made in Italy with designation of origin.
Source: European Commission