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Criticism of the Nutri-Score: Some reviews for shopping surprise


The Nutri-Score is designed to quickly identify healthy and unhealthy foods. But the system also has weak points.

The Nutri-Score is designed to quickly identify healthy and unhealthy foods.

But the system also has weak points.

Frankfurt - Healthy nutrition is important. But which foods are actually good for health? In order to answer this question for everyone, the German Federal Council approved the voluntary use of the so-called Nutri-Score in 2020 to identify healthy foods - and those that are not - as such at first glance. The concept of labeling comes from independent nutritionists from France and England. However, the system does not offer 100 percent reliability.

Since November 6, 2020, manufacturers have been able to place the five-level Nutri-Score color scale from A to E on their products and thus point out the nutritional properties of the respective foods to customers.

Different products from a food group can thus be compared quickly and easily.

According to the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL), the Nutri-Score * "is a useful addition to the legally required information such as the list of ingredients and nutritional values ​​- and offers consumers guidance when choosing food as part of a healthy, balanced diet."

Which foods are healthy and which are unhealthy?

The Nutri-Score should help

When shopping in the supermarket or discount store, customers can see directly whether they are buying healthy food or not. Well, it's not that simple. Because the Nutri-Score is based on a relatively simple calculation system in which the various ingredients of the food are evaluated and a total number of points is calculated from this.

Fiber, protein, nuts, fruits, and vegetables receive a positive rating from 0 (nonexistent) to 15 (many of the beneficial nutrients).

Food with a lot of sugar, calories, saturated fatty acids and salts, on the other hand, negative points - from 0 (optimal) to 40 (particularly bad).

“The lower the overall score, the better.

It determines which letter is highlighted.

The Nutri-Score is not calculated for portions, but for 100 grams or 100 milliliters of a product, ”explains Stiftung Warentest.

Total score for food

Letter on the Nutri Score Scale

-15 to -1 points


0 to 2 points


3 to 10 points


11 to 18 points


19 and more points



Nutri-Score does not take into account all ingredients: the calculation formula also creates problems

The Stiftung Warentest, however, criticizes the fact that, for example, secondary plant substances, vitamins or omega-3 fatty acids * are not taken into account in the Nutri-Score. "In addition, consumers in the store cannot understand how the calculation came about," says the product tester. This means that olive oil, for example, has a particularly bad Nutri-Score (E) due to its high fat content. This shows that the offsetting of healthy and unhealthy ingredients offers pitfalls that customers can easily feel when buying the goods. Even a product with the Nutri-Score A or B can hide real sugar and calorie bombs because of this.

But does the Nutri-Score make sense at all?

Absolutely, as the consumer association explains: “A label like the Nutri-Score is particularly suitable for complex and highly processed foods.” However, it is important that consumers also take into account that the rating scale only includes foods from the same product group compares.

It can therefore happen that, for example, a frozen pizza receives a better Nutri-Score than a natural yoghurt.

A B or even an A on a frozen pizza does not mean that it is a food for a healthy and balanced diet.

Only that the product is healthier compared to other frozen pizzas.

Healthy or unhealthy?

Nutri-Score remains voluntary: the consumer association is critical

The Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture explains this on its side: "When shopping, the Nutri-Score gives you quick guidance as to which foods have the better nutritional value compared to other foods in the same category and thus contribute more to a balanced diet." It is from the ministry around the Federal Minister for Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection Julia Klöckner (CDU *) that the Nutri-Score could motivate food manufacturers in the medium term to "change the recipes of their products to a nutritionally more favorable composition."

Still there is criticism. Among other things, from the Federation of German Consumer Organizations (vzbv), which criticizes the voluntary use of the Nutri-Score. Experience has shown that voluntariness means “that not all food companies take part”, explains vzbv board member Klaus Müller, who instead calls for a binding and Europe-wide uniform traffic light for labeling healthy and unhealthy foods. According to, the consumer magazine Ökotest is also demanding a more consistent approach from Julia Klöckner and her ministry. (Yannick Wenig) * is an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA.

Source: merkur

All life articles on 2021-05-07

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