The Nutri-Score is intended to help consumers quickly compare products in a category or product type.
luisa ita“Food” Editor
Almost half of adults are too fat! Obesity is a growing problem in our society. According to the Federal Office of Public Health, around 42 percent of the adult population in Switzerland is overweight, of which 11 percent are obese, i.e. significantly overweight. About 15 percent of children and young people are overweight or obese.
Being very overweight is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and some types of cancer. In our fast-paced world, many people cite lack of time for healthy eating as the reason for their obesity: And this is exactly where the Nutri-Score aims to help.
More about Nutri-Score
Frozen pizza with a green “A”: how does it work?
The Nutri-Score is a color scale intended to make shopping easier. The idea: You should be able to tell at first glance which product is suitable for a balanced diet. The letters “A” to “E,” now found on the front of many foods, show how balanced a product is. But how is it possible that chocolate muesli suddenly gets a green “A” and fruit yogurt gets a big, fat red “E”?
The reason is simple: Nutri-Score is not intended to compare apples and pears, but only products from one category or type of product against each other. In other words: if you want to buy a ready-made pizza, you can use the color code to quickly know which of the ready-made pizzas has the most balanced nutritional composition, so even a high-calorie ready-made pizza The pizza can have an “A” green on the packaging.
Proteins and vegetables are considered “green” foods
According to the Federal Office for Food Safety and Veterinary Affairs (BLV), the Nutri-Score is determined using a scientifically validated formula. We always assume 100 grams or 100 milliliters of a product. Recommended nutrients would be weighted in green, while those that should be consumed moderately would be weighted in red. These are assigned to the scale: from “A” for balanced composition to “E” for unilateral and therefore unbalanced composition.
Foods such as nuts, fiber, proteins, legumes, vegetables and certain oils are classified as green. Nutrients with a high energy content, that is, many calories, are marked in red. Sugar, salt, and saturated fatty acids also fall into the red category.
Coca-Cola beats orange juice
The formula has already given surprising results: for example, orange and apple juice are less valued than Coca-Cola because the latter contains less sugar. Some people have probably also been suspicious of the Emmi Caffè Latte: the sugary takeaway coffees had a green label for a while, but this changed after a media outcry. The Nutri-Score committees ultimately decided that dairy beverages should no longer be classified as foods, but as beverages; Because their Nutri-Score is calculated differently, some latte products fell into the “C” category or even the red zones. «D» and «E».
«The Nutri-Score only evaluates processed foods. Products that do not have a nutritional table cannot be labeled with the Nutri-Score, for example, fresh fruits and vegetables,” explains the BLV on its website. The authority emphasizes: Not even foods with a green Nutri-Score can be consumed without restrictions, in the same way that a red color code should not be considered a prohibition: “The label only helps to choose the healthiest among identical products.”
Nutri-Score is voluntary
Food labeling is carried out by food manufacturers; Currently it remains voluntary. The Federal Council rejected a motion tabled in 2019 by an SP politician to make color coding mandatory in Switzerland; It was finally withdrawn in 2021.
Although the federal government considers the prevention of non-communicable diseases an important objective of health policy and is committed to a healthy and balanced diet, it wants to maintain the Nutri-Score labeling, as in the rest of Europe, on a voluntary basis. base. The reason is the ongoing debates on a uniform and effective food classification system, and the Federal Council also notes in its response to the 2019 motion: “A mandatory labeling system could also create technical barriers to trade.”