Sustainability Database Integrates Front-of-Pack Labels to Shape Food Production Decisions

The Latis database provides food producers with uniform metrics to compare their products against internal sustainability standards and industry averages.
Dec. 20, 2021
Paolo DeAndreis

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Latis, the world’s largest prod­uct sus­tain­abil­ity data­base, will inte­grate Nutri-Score and Eco-Score into its intel­li­gence plat­form.

The plat­form allows food pro­duc­ers to ver­ify the health and envi­ron­men­tal impacts of any ingre­di­ent, source loca­tion or sus­tain­abil­ity stan­dard on a prod­uct. Among the met­rics included by HowGood, the com­pany behind Latis, are green­house gas emis­sions, water usage and worker and ani­mal wel­fare.

Nutri-Score esti­mated scores are sur­faced in the plat­form to enable prod­uct devel­op­ers to for­mu­late with it in mind, but it is done in a way that does not con­fuse or con­flate nutri­tion with sus­tain­abil­ity.- Ethan Soloviev, chief inno­va­tion offi­cer, HowGood

To date, the data­base com­prises more than 33,000 ingre­di­ents, chem­i­cals, and mate­ri­als used in the food pro­duc­tion process and two mil­lion food prod­ucts. The com­pany gath­ers infor­ma­tion from more than 550 dif­fer­ent sources for its met­rics.

See Also:Updated Nutri-Score Label Indicates Whether Food Is Processed, Organic

Ethan Soloviev, HowGood’s chief inno­va­tion offi­cer, told Olive Oil Times that Latis allows food pro­duc­ers to see the impact of a sin­gle ingre­di­ent or entire food prod­uct on the envi­ron­ment and com­pare it with oth­ers. The goal is to increase trans­parency in the food pro­duc­tion indus­try while allow­ing pro­duc­ers to under­stand how each ingre­di­ent impacts an over­all prod­uct.

For exam­ple, while some­thing like nat­ural fla­vors’ may score low on pro­cess­ing, as an ingre­di­ent mak­ing up less than one per­cent of the for­mula, it would not affect the over­all score of a prod­uct in the same way as an ingre­di­ent closer to the top of the ingre­di­ent list,” Soloviev said.

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He added that inte­grat­ing Nutri-Score and Eco-Score into the plat­form pro­vides cus­tomers with uni­form met­rics to com­pare their prod­uct impact against inter­nal goals and indus­try aver­ages.”

The devel­op­ers of Latis hope this will lead more com­pa­nies – such as Danone and Walmart – to refor­mu­late their food offer­ings to achieve bet­ter scores.

This phe­nom­e­non has already been seen with Nutri-Score, a five-color front-of-pack-label (FOPL) that mea­sures the pres­ence or absence of sev­eral key macro ingre­di­ents, includ­ing sugar, fat, calo­ries and sodium, per 100 grams or 100 mil­li­liters.

Like Nutri-Score, Eco-Score also rates food on a color/letter scale. Both sys­tems use a Green A” to label the health­i­est or most envi­ron­men­tally friendly option and Red E” for the least healthy or envi­ron­men­tally friendly prod­ucts.

Unlike other labels, such as the Med-Index, Nutri-Score is meant to pro­vide a quick and straight­for­ward sum­mary of infor­ma­tion about the nutri­tional pro­file of a food prod­uct and does not take into account its sus­tain­abil­ity.

Soloviev said that Latis kept this in mind when decid­ing how to inte­grate the FOPL into the plat­form.

See Also:Proposed Label Would Allow Consumers to Compare Sustainability of Food Items

Nutri-Score esti­mated scores are sur­faced in the plat­form to enable prod­uct devel­op­ers to for­mu­late with it in mind, but it is done in a way that does not con­fuse or con­flate nutri­tion with sus­tain­abil­ity,” he said.

When Nutri-Score was adopted in Germany in 2020, the country’s sci­en­tific advi­sory board on agri­cul­tural pol­icy, food and con­sumer health pro­tec­tion (WBAE) warned that the FOPL should also show the green­house gas emis­sions related to any prod­uct on the shelves.

Promoting more sus­tain­able food choices across the whole spec­trum of soci­ety requires a fair frame­work encom­pass­ing the pro­vi­sion of solid and com­pre­hen­si­ble infor­ma­tion, easy access to healthy foods, more food choice options and price incen­tives which make sus­tain­able choices finan­cially more attrac­tive for the con­sumer,” Britta Renner, of WBAE, said at the time.

Since mak­ing this state­ment, Eco-Score has been devel­oped with the help of sev­eral promi­nent mem­bers of the food indus­try. Now, a grow­ing num­ber of food pro­duc­ers and retail­ers through­out Europe are adopt­ing its labels.

While data about how con­sumers’ choices are affected by the new labels have not yet been fully gath­ered and ana­lyzed, a 2020 global sur­vey by Accenture sug­gested that 33 per­cent of con­sumers rank sus­tain­abil­ity as one of their top three pur­chas­ing cri­te­ria.

According to HowGood, the sus­tain­abil­ity data­base will help pro­duc­ers bet­ter under­stand how changes in the prod­uct devel­op­ment process will impact how con­sumers per­ceive their prod­ucts.

By hav­ing this infor­ma­tion read­ily avail­able in Latis, HowGood cus­tomers can bet­ter under­stand how any changes made in the prod­uct devel­op­ment process can impact these scores to ensure their prod­ucts are uni­ver­sally con­sid­ered health­ful and envi­ron­men­tally friendly,” the com­pany said.


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