Two companies in the Netherlands are to introduce Nutri-Score nutrition labels on their products despite the country’s government not yet giving the go-ahead to the voluntary scheme.
Vegetable product manufacturer Hak is the first to make the leap while Iglo, the frozen-food business owned by the UK-based Nomad Foods, is following suit.
In a statement, Hak said the urgency for introducing the scheme – a ‘traffic light’ system consisting of a five-colour scale with five letters from A (healthiest choice) to E – is too high to wait for the Dutch government to make a decision on Nutri-Score, which has already been introduced in France, Spain and Belgium, although the scheme is not mandatory.
Hak said from 1 September it will carry the Nutri-Score label on its products in the Netherlands. It already does so in Belgium.
The Nutri-Score system is based on scientific research that looks at nutritional values and the amount of fruit or vegetables in a product. In addition, the fibre and protein content has a positive influence on the final score. The amount of sugar, saturated fat, calories and salt can negatively influence the Nutri-Score
Hak described Nutri-Score as “a proven tool to encourage consumers to choose a healthy product for their daily shopping”.
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Timo Hoogeboom, Hak’s CEO, added: “The Consumers ‘Association launched a European citizens’ initiative this week to put Nutri-Score on the agenda of the European Commission. That is a very good initiative, but at the same time the manufacturers can already take on their own role.”
He added: “From our company mission, we think it is important that it is made easy for consumers to eat more vegetable, more vegetables and more legumes. The nutritional value of vegetables is very high because of the fibre, proteins and vitamins that they contain. That is why almost all of our products receive an A-score. If we want to encourage consumers to eat more vegetables and legumes in a simple way, such a positive Nutri-Score will certainly be motivating. “
Meanwhile Iglo said in a statement on LinkedIn it too will be introducing Nutri-Score labels on its products in the country.
“The Netherlands is waiting for [the government’s] Nutri-Score decision, but Iglo is already taking the step,” it said. “It is our mission to help people make tasty and nutritious meal choices, in which fish and vegetables play an important role. With the introduction of Nutri-Score, we are convinced that we are helping consumers to make the right choice.”
just-food has asked The Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport for a response to companies introducing Nutri-Score labelling on their products before the system is introduced at a national level. It has also been asked for an update on the timing of introducing such a scheme if that is what it decides to do.
Hoogeboom at Hak told just-food it is his understanding that the Dutch government will take a decision on the labelling scheme “around October”.