The Nutri-Score is a logo intended to inform consumers about the nutritional quality of foods and allow them to compare food items, while encouraging manufacturers to improve the nutritional composition of their products. Its method of calculation has been subject to a revision which comes into force in 2024 in the seven European countries which have adopted it (France, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland). As soon as it was adopted in France in 2017 and then in the six other European countries, it was intended that the Nutri-Score would be updated regularly, depending on the evolution of science in the field of nutrition and the evolution of the food market, in order to take into account innovations and reformulations by manufacturers. In 2022, a scientific committee composed of experts from the seven countries and without conflicts of interest was mandated to update the method of calculating the Nutri-Score. They proposed areas for improvement of the initial algorithm, with modifications to the method of calculation for various food categories, while maintaining its general structure.

Specific changes to the algorithm are as follows. The number of penalty points for sugar content is increased. This choice is explained by the fact that a recent EFSA report showed that there was no minimum threshold of sugar content without risk to health. The number of penalty points for salt content is increased. This change is linked to the fact that high sodium intake increases blood pressure and the risk of hypertension, which is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and chronic kidney failure. The allocation of points promoting fibre content is modified to allow better discrimination between refined and whole grain products and thus be consistent with public health nutritional recommendations. The number of points for proteins is increased, with a limitation of points for red meat proteins, justified by work highlighting the links between high intake of red meat and risks of cancer, particularly colorectal. The “fruits, vegetables, legumes, dried fruits and rapeseed, olive and nut oils” component is modified and now only includes fruits, vegetables and legumes. Finally, the threshold between score A and score B is modified.

Overall, changes to the algorithm lead to a stricter ranking of products, with products with sugar and salt ranked less favourably due to the now more penalizing allocation of points. This impacts sugary breakfast cereals and sugary dairy products which are less favourably classified. Prepared meals, particularly rich in saturated fat or salt, are classified less favourably, moving on average from classes A/B to classes B/C or even D for certain product categories, notably certain pizzas. Oils with an interesting unsaturated fatty acid profile (olive, rapeseed, walnut, oleic sunflower oil) are now classified B, while other oils are classified C, D or E depending on their saturated fatty acid content. As for drinks, water remains the only drink classified as A. Sweetened milk drinks (flavoured milks), as well as flavoured drinkable yogurts, are no longer classified as B but are mainly found in D and E. Sweetened drinks are now penalized too.

The revised version of the Nutri-Score corrects some of the limitations identified since its implementation. Above all, it allows for better consistency and alignment with recent nutritional recommendations in Europe, for the benefit of consumers and public health. Manufacturers will have a period of two years to apply the new scores, in order to be able to sell off their stocks and renew their labels.

A perspective for future developments would be, alongside informing consumers on the nutritional composition, to also provide information on whether the food is “ultra-processed” or not. It is not currently possible to aggregate the two dimensions (nutritional quality and ultra-processing) within the framework of a single algorithm which would alone summarize the overall “health” value of foods. It is however possible to graphically combine the two dimensions of nutritional quality and ultra-processing. A randomized controlled trial has already shown that this type of combined logo allows consumers to independently understand these two complementary dimensions of foods and to direct their choices towards foods more favourable to their health.

LinkedIn : @nutrinet-sante

Twitter : @NutriNetSante



En 2024, le Nutri-Score évolue : pourquoi, et que faut-il en retenir ? (

Read more:

© Photo credit: Santé Publique France

Back to top