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Facilitating Consumers Choice of Healthier Foods: A Comparison of Different Front-of-Package Labelling Schemes Using Slovenian Food Supply Database

1
Nutrition Institute, Tržaška cesta 40, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
2
University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty, Jamnikarjeva 101, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
3
VIST – Higher School of Applied Sciences, Gerbičeva cesta 51A, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Foods 2020, 9(4), 399; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9040399
Received: 14 February 2020 / Revised: 25 March 2020 / Accepted: 27 March 2020 / Published: 31 March 2020
Summary indicator front-of-package nutrition labelling schemes are gaining momentum. In Europe, an example of such a scheme is Nutri-Score, which was first introduced in France. Supported by additional research, the scheme has the potential to expand into other countries. Such a scenario opens a series of questions related to the use of Nutri-Score in the territories with pre-existing food labelling schemes. A key question is whether different nutrition labelling schemes would provide conflicting information for consumers when applied to same foods. The goal of our study was, therefore, to evaluate the alignment of different front-of-package nutrition labelling schemes. The study was conducted using cross-sectional data on the composition of selected categories of prepacked foods with high penetration nutrition/health claims and symbols in the Slovenian food supply. We evaluated a variety of existing front-of-package nutrition labelling schemes: three interpretive nutrition rating systems (Nutri-Score, Health Star Rating (HSR), Traffic light system), four health symbols (Protective Food symbol, Choices, Finnish heart, and Keyhole symbol), and also three nutrient profile models developed for other purposes (Office of Communications (United Kingdom, Ofcom), World Health Organization Regional office for Europe (WHOE) and Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ)). Overall, our results indicate that interpretive nutrition rating systems (i.e., Nutri-Score) are mostly less strict than the nutrient profiles of tested health symbols. A risk of conflicting information would happen in a scenario where food is eligible to carry a health symbol, but is at the same time rated to have lower nutritional quality by an accompanying interpretive nutrition rating system. When Protective Food symbol and Nutri-Score are used together, this would occur for 5% of foods in our sample. To avoid such risks, schemes for health symbols could be adapted to be stricter than interpretive nutrition rating systems used in the same territory/market, but such adaptations are challenging and should be well planned. While our study showed that, in most cases, Nutri-Score is a less strict model than tested health symbols, the rating-system approach might offer useful support and incentive for food producers towards gradual food reformulation. View Full-Text
Keywords: front-of-package nutrition labelling schemes; health symbols; nutrient profiling; Nutri-Score; HSR; choices; Finnish heart; Keyhole symbol front-of-package nutrition labelling schemes; health symbols; nutrient profiling; Nutri-Score; HSR; choices; Finnish heart; Keyhole symbol
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Pivk Kupirovič, U.; Hristov, H.; Hribar, M.; Lavriša, Ž.; Pravst, I. Facilitating Consumers Choice of Healthier Foods: A Comparison of Different Front-of-Package Labelling Schemes Using Slovenian Food Supply Database. Foods 2020, 9, 399.

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