`Nutri-Score Label More Effective Than NutrInform, Study Finds - Olive Oil Times

Nutri-Score Label More Effective Than NutrInform, Study Finds

By Paolo DeAndreis
Aug. 8, 2020 15:06 UTC

A newly-pub­lished paper in the sci­en­tific mag­a­zine, Nutrients, sug­gests that the Nutri-Score sys­tem may be the most effec­tive front-of-pack label (FoPL) when it comes to help­ing con­sumers rank food items by nutri­tional qual­ity.

The study com­pared five dif­fer­ent FoPLs – Health Star Rating sys­tem, mul­ti­ple traf­fic lights, Nutri-Score, ref­er­ence intakes and warn­ing sym­bol – to exam­ine food choices and the con­sumers’ abil­ity to under­stand the labels.

Nutri-Score was the best for­mat to help Italian con­sumers iden­tify the nutri­tional qual­ity of foods.- Authors of the study, 

For the study, researchers asked a rep­re­sen­ta­tive sam­ple of 1,032 Italian con­sumers selected for age, gen­der, lifestyle and income to com­plete an online sur­vey in which they were asked to select one food item from a group of three with dif­fer­ent nutri­ent pro­files that they would most likely pur­chase.

Afterwards, they were asked to rank the three food items by their nutri­tional qual­ity, first with­out any label then with one of the five FoPLs.

See Also:E.U. Approves Italian Alternative to Nutri-Score Labeling System

The results of the study showed that while the FoPLs had lim­ited impact on the food items cho­sen by con­sumers, the Nutri-Score sys­tem was most effec­tive in aid­ing con­sumers to order the items by nutri­tional qual­ity.

All five FoPLs improved some­what the nutri­tional qual­ity of food choices com­pared to no label for some par­tic­i­pants, with no sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences across schemes,” the team of Italian and Australian researchers wrote. However, Nutri-Score was the best for­mat to help Italian con­sumers iden­tify the nutri­tional qual­ity of foods.”

On the con­trary, the ref­er­ence intakes label, the for­mat of which is very close to the new FoPL for­mat being pro­posed by the Italian gov­ern­ment, NutrInform, was the least effi­cient scheme to assist Italian con­sumers in inter­pret­ing the nutri­tional qual­ity of foods,” the researchers added.

For the researchers, the per­for­mance of Nutri-Score did not come as a sur­prise, as their results proved to be con­sis­tent with pre­vi­ous stud­ies con­ducted in sev­eral European coun­tries.

Notably, sim­i­lar results were observed in Spain, another Mediterranean coun­try with a sim­i­lar food con­text and dietary behav­iors as Italy,” the researchers wrote.

The choice of ana­lyz­ing FoPL per­for­mance among Italian con­sumers comes as the European Union con­tin­ues to debate which food label­ing sys­tem to adopt.

While Nutri-Score is gain­ing trac­tion in sev­eral coun­tries within the E.U., Italy is the one European coun­try that strongly opposes its intro­duc­tion.

Local author­i­ties and many in the food chain do not believe Nutri-Score ade­quately clas­si­fies the health ben­e­fits of many ingre­di­ents of the Mediterranean diet, espe­cially extra vir­gin olive oil.

Italy is also push­ing the E.U. to adopt the Nutrinform Battery instead of Nutri-Score.

Although Italian stake­hold­ers have raised crit­i­cisms against the Nutri-Score, to date no sci­en­tific com­par­a­tive study has been pub­lished in Italy to test its effec­tive­ness among con­sumers, in com­par­i­son to var­i­ous FoPLs, such as the ref­er­ence intakes, of which the Nutrinform Battery is a vari­ant,” the researchers wrote.


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