The Nutriscore traffic light is a model based on a five-color logo associated with five letters that describe five classes of nutritional quality. Also known as the 5-color or 5C logo, it is one of the options that, together with the ENL -proposed by the industry- and other models have opened some discrepancies in the food field at the European level. It is based on an algorithm that calculates the “unfavorable” nutrients of the product and the favorable ones. This algorithm is universal for all food products “with adaptations for beverages, fats and cheeses”.
Gradually, the algorithm attributes points to products according to their nutritional composition per 100 grams. From A to E and from green to red, it ranks foods by comparing them with each other, allowing the consumer to distinguish which products have “better nutritional quality” and also “between different brands”. The green ones will identify the healthiest products and the red ones those of lower quality.
Unlike the ENL or the current DCO models, which focus their analysis on four and five nutrients respectively, NutriScore alludes both to the nutrients beneficial to health contained in the product (fiber, protein, amount of fruit, vegetables, nuts and legumes), and to those whose intake is recommended to reduce (calories, simple sugars, saturated fats and salt). In addition, another feature is that it involves mandatory front-of-pack labeling.
The NutriScore already exists in countries such as France, where it was launched in January 2017, and will soon reach others such as Belgium, Portugal and Spain.