GERMANY – Germany plans to introduce a national voluntary food labeling scheme NutriScore in the coming year, that will be used to display the nutritional value of food.

Despite the model attracting mixed reactions from regulators and food companies operating in the country, Germany Agriculture Minister, Julia Klöckner has backed the NutriScore system terming the move as a ‘milestone in nutrition policy.’

Some stakeholders have been pushing for establishment of a simplified nutrition labelling system in order to give consumers additional guidance and Klöckner noted that the Nutri-Score will give consumers a summary rating that gives quick orientation.

“As an extended nutritional label for Germany, I want to introduce the NutriScore, so I make a valid decision in a debate that has been going on for over a decade in a very emotional – sometimes polarizing – atmosphere​,” she said while Making the statement in Berlin, reports FoodNaviagtor.

The NutriScore system was developed in France, where it is mandatory, and is being adopted by a number of other countries such as Belgium and Spain as Europe looks to combat its obesity crisis.

Klöckner has in the past maintained that the NutriScore to be adopted in Germany will be different model from that currently being applied in France.

In Germany, some food companies have already voluntarily committed to Nutriscore labelling – including Danone, Mestemacher McCain, Bofrost and Iglo.

“The desire of consumers for more security and transparency in the purchase of food is great​,” said Klöckner.

“For many, it has so far been difficult to do much right with healthy nutrition and to feel secure when making a quick purchase decision.

“Especially at a time when more and more finished products are being used, some of which contain too much sugar, salt or fats. This has health, but also economic consequences that I do not want to accept.”​

The NutriScore classifies foods and beverages according to their nutritional profile by using a colour-based system with a scale ranging from healthier choices (A) to less healthier choices (E).

However, critics complain that the system discriminates against ‘healthy’ foods with a high-saturated content such as fish and olive oil, a concern that Klöckner noted that the system will not solve overweight problems but will inform healthier food choices.

“NutriScore meets many of the requirements that formulate the consumer to an additional nutritional label,​” she said.

“It is at first glance detectable, easy to understand and uses the catchy, already learned colour world of a traffic light. The NutriScore does not allow any conclusions about the composition of the nutritional values.

“Above all, consumers expect a summary rating that provides quick orientation. Further information can be found in the nutritional table and the list of ingredients.”​

​According to a FoodNavigator report, Klöckner’s plans will now be submitted to the Cabinet for approval which she hopes will be put it into force during the coming year.