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Food labeling: Germans are in favor of Nutri-Score traffic lights
Previous research has shown that nutrition labeling on foods can contribute to a healthier diet. But which food label is best suited for this? As has now been shown in a survey, the majority of Germans are in favor of the Nutri-Score traffic light. Food minister Klöckner's nutrition model is rather confusing for consumers.
A survey by the Forsa Institute on behalf of several medical-scientific organizations and the consumer organization foodwatch shows that the majority of Germans support the labeling of foods with the Nutri-Score. As the German Diabetes Society (DDG) writes in a press release, 69 percent of the people surveyed preferred the Nutri-Score over the “nutrition guide” labeling model commissioned by Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture Julia Klöckner.
"Nutri-Score" or "Nutrition Guide"?
According to a summary of the Forsa results published by fooodwatch, from July 5 to 15, 1003, selected citizens aged 18 and over in Germany were interviewed online according to a systematic random procedure.
At the beginning, respondents were given an explanation of the two food labeling systems "Nutri-Score" and "Nutrition Guide". Afterwards, the participants saw three products (muesli, turkey breast and Capri sun), each in two versions next to each other, one with a Nutri-Score and one with a nutrition label. This gave them an impression of how the two labels on the packaging look at different levels (very good health - moderately cheap - very unfavorable).
Subsequently, the respondents were asked to indicate which of the two labeling systems they would rather assign different properties to. In addition, they were asked how important certain properties of a system are to them personally. Finally, the participants should "all in all" choose one of the two systems.
The model of the minister of nutrition failed in the respondents
The evaluation showed that the "food guide" failed in the majority of consumers: only 25 percent spoke in favor of the model - the majority of those interviewed rated it as "complicated" and "confusing". The organizations therefore urged Minister of Food Klöckner not to waste any more time in the fight against malnutrition and to introduce the Nutri Score as soon as possible.
“The survey shows that German consumers want the Nutri Score. This nutritional traffic light has previously proven its effectiveness in over 35 scientific studies, ”said Barbara Bitzer, spokeswoman for the scientific alliance DANK and managing director of the German Diabetes Association. "We expect Federal Minister of Food Julia Klöckner to introduce the Nutri Score as soon as possible. A label that most people find confusing is scientifically unacceptable. ”
Nutri-Score is more helpful when choosing healthy products
According to the information in the survey, especially those population groups in favor of the Nutri-Score who are particularly badly affected by malnutrition. Respondents with a low level of formal education and those with a strong overweight preferred three quarters of the Nutri Score. Both groups also rated the Nutri Score more often as more helpful when choosing healthy products.
The “Nutrition Guide”, on the other hand, was felt by a particularly large proportion of people who were extremely overweight than the more complicated label. "The new labeling system must be understandable especially for the population groups particularly affected by malnutrition and overweight," said Prof. Dr. Berthold Koletzko, Chairman of the Nutrition Commission of the German Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.
“If parents have a low level of education or are overweight, then their children have a significantly increased risk of getting fat. The Nutri-Score seems to reach these population groups well and can therefore help to protect children from being overweight. ”
Fast and understandable orientation when shopping
The survey also recorded the importance of respondents to certain properties when labeling. A label must therefore be above all "clear" (72 percent think this is very important), "easy to understand" (70 percent) and "uncomplicated" (61 percent). Consumers saw exactly these characteristics, particularly in the Nutri-Score. In contrast, detailed information on the front of the packaging, such as the “Nutrition Guide”, was significantly less important to people (35 percent).
"The survey clearly shows that the Nutri-Score delivers exactly what people expect - quick, understandable orientation when shopping," said Prof. Hans Hauner, chairman of the German Diabetes Foundation and advisory board member of the German Obesity Society. "Politicians must finally implement this effective measure for a healthier diet."
Medical associations, medical associations and consumer organizations have long been calling for binding measures against malnutrition and obesity - an understandable nutritional label in traffic light colors is an important component. In the absence of a binding EU-wide regulation, several countries have now introduced traffic lights on a voluntary basis.
The Nutri-Score developed by independent French scientists is already being used in France and Belgium, Spain has announced its introduction and the introduction is also being discussed in Portugal, Luxembourg and Switzerland.
The model makes an overall assessment of the nutritional composition of a product by comparing nutritionally favorable and unfavorable nutritional components and classifying them on a color scale from green to red. With the Nutri-Score, the nutritional values of various foods such as frozen pizzas, breakfast cereals or fruit yoghurts can be compared at a glance.
Julia Klöckner presented the “Nutrition Guide” in May, which the State Max Rubner Institute developed on behalf of the Minister of Food. In contrast to the Nutri-Score, this “honeycomb” model is not classified in traffic light colors. (ad)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
- Deutsche Diabetes Gesellschaft: Representative survey on nutrition labeling: large majority for Nutri-Score traffic lights. Klöckner model falls through among German consumers, (accessed: August 14, 2019), Deutsche Diabetes Gesellschaft
- foodwatch: consumer opinions on Nutri-Score and food guide, (accessed: 14.08.2019), foodwatch