Green light for a new food logo?

We just got freed of the “conscious choice” and “healthy choice” Check Marks, or another discussion about logos that indicate healthy and unhealthy food follows. The new logo is already in use in France and Belgium, Spain and Portugal are the next to apply it.


But before we continue: How about these Check Marks again? There was a green Check Mark and a blue Check Mark and there was some difference between the two, but what was that difference again? Well, the answer to that was very simple; the Check Mark with a green circle could be found on healthier basic products. These products contain nutrients that you need every day. And beware: the point is that it is a good choice within a certain product group. Further, to make it even easier for the consumer there was also a Check Mark with a blue circle; this indicated the better choice in a product group that you should not consume too much too often; such as a snack with less fat or a soft drink with less sugar. Clear right? No, not at all!

Yet the idea of ​​a logo on foods is not such a bad idea. However, it should be a logo that is easy to interpret for everyone. In the Netherlands, the Nutri score is currently being considered, as in other European countries. What this means: a simple logo that is easy to interpret for the consumer.

At one glance the Nutri score shows how healthy or unhealthy a product is. This logo looks like a traffic light with 5 colors: dark green (A), light green (B), yellow (C), orange (D) and red (E). The color of the traffic light is determined by the fact that points are scored on negative elements, such as, for example, high values ​​of calories, saturated fat, fat, sugar and salt. We also look at positive elements such as, a high percentage of fruit and vegetables and a high content of proteins and fibers. All these categories yield points and in the end, based on the number of points, a category comes out of which dark green (A) is the most healthy and red (E) it is the least healthy.

In England, a traffic light system is also used. However, separate colors are given here for salt, sugar and saturated fat. As a consumer you then have to determine yourself to what aspect you want to pay attention the most. In the Nutri score everything is bundled into one single logo: so more easy to interpret.

Research by the Consumers’ Association shows that Dutch consumers are also positive about the introduction of the Nutri score. If this system is chosen, it must apply to all products. With a voluntary participation, you otherwise will only see products with a dark green, light green and yellow logo. Producers of products that should have had an orange or red logo will most probably not put this logo on their packaging. Since even though consumers know that a box of ice cream is not healthy, a logo with a red box on it will scare off.

It remains to be seen whether the Netherlands will also work with this traffic light system.