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 9:18 AM EST
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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