`Study: Nutri-Score Label System Does Not Discourage Olive Oil Consumption - Olive Oil Times

Study: Nutri-Score Label System Does Not Discourage Olive Oil Consumption

Oct. 6, 2021
Paolo DeAndreis

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Some of the sci­en­tists behind Nutri-Score have pub­lished a new study show­ing that the front-of-pack-label­ing (FOPL) sys­tem effec­tively helped con­sumers choose olive oil over less healthy cook­ing oil alter­na­tives.

In the opin­ion of the researchers, the lat­est find­ings will help assuage the con­cerns of the olive oil sec­tor that Nutri-Score will hurt sales.

The results of our study sug­gest that the appo­si­tion of Nutri-Score in olive oil is well accepted and under­stood by a large major­ity of par­tic­i­pants who seem to accept the cur­rent Nutri-Score for olive oil.- Authors, Study on con­sumer under­stand­ing of Nutri-Score

The study focuses on the behav­ior of 486 Spanish con­sumers. Almost 80 per­cent of them said Nutri-Score helped them spot the nutri­tional and qual­ity dif­fer­ences among the eight veg­etable oils and fats cho­sen for the study.

See Also: Nutri-Score Adoption Can Help Curb Cancer Epidemic, Researchers Say

This is impor­tant work that con­tributes to answer­ing some crit­i­cisms made by olive oil pro­duc­ers about the cur­rent clas­si­fi­ca­tion of olive oil by Nutri-Score,” Pilar Galan, a nutri­tional epi­demi­ol­ogy researcher at Sorbonne Paris Nord University, told Olive Oil Times.

Of the sam­ple pool, 89 per­cent of respon­dents cor­rectly iden­ti­fied olive oil as the added fat with the best nutri­tional qual­ity. When asked which added fat they would buy most fre­quently, 86 per­cent of the par­tic­i­pants chose olive oil.

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Next, after remem­ber­ing that among the added fats the Nutri-Score C given to olive oil was the best, most of the par­tic­i­pants declared that they would con­tinue con­sum­ing olive oil as much as before (71 per­cent),” the researchers wrote.

While many olive oil pro­duc­ers in coun­tries such as Italy, Spain and Greece have crit­i­cized the Yellow C” Nutri-Score rat­ing for extra vir­gin olive oil, the same score given to refined olive oil, 78 per­cent said that they believe Nutri-Score should be used to rate olive oil.

After the crit­i­cism fol­lowed by Nutri-Score’s intro­duc­tion in Spain, Madrid con­ceded that the Nutri-Score label would not be manda­tory for olive oil.

However, the sci­en­tists wrote the results of our study sug­gest that the appo­si­tion of Nutri-Score in olive oil is well accepted and under­stood by a large major­ity of par­tic­i­pants who seem to accept the cur­rent Nutri-Score for olive oil.”

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In their paper, the researchers noted how the 12-coun­try FOP-ICE study showed that Nutri-Score appeared as the best scheme to help par­tic­i­pants iden­tify health­ier food prod­ucts com­pared to other FOPLs.”

Several stud­ies also high­lighted Nutri-Score’s abil­ity to dis­crim­i­nate prod­ucts across the same food cat­e­gory as well as its con­sis­tency in regard to European national dietary guide­lines,” they added.

The inter­na­tional debate about Nutri-Score is strongly con­nected to the European Commission’s ini­tia­tive to intro­duce a uni­ver­sal food label­ing plat­form for the European Union by 2022.

Back in February, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Spain, Switzerland and France joined forces in an intra-European steer­ing com­mit­tee to facil­i­tate the use of Nutri-Score among food pro­duc­ers.

While Nutri-Score has won the atten­tion of sev­eral European coun­tries that tra­di­tion­ally exert a piv­otal role in E.U. deci­sions, other coun­tries, such as Italy, fiercely oppose its intro­duc­tion.

This oppo­si­tion has led to a num­ber of new FOPL can­di­dates being intro­duced into the debate for a pan-European label­ing sys­tem. Among the most promi­nent is Nutrinform Battery, which has been put for­ward by Italy but widely crit­i­cized for its non-intu­itive approach to nutri­tion label­ing.

The Med Index also has also been pro­posed by researchers from Puglia. The pro­posed FOPL is based on foods typ­i­cal of the Mediterranean diet, espe­cially extra vir­gin olive oil, but excludes processed foods from its rat­ing sys­tem.

Environmental activists are also push­ing for any pan-European FOPL to include a food’s sus­tain­abil­ity. Planet-Score and Eco-Impact com­bine both the envi­ron­men­tal impact of food and its nutri­tional qual­i­ties in a sin­gle label.


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