A business unit of UK-based frozen food manufacturer Nomad Foods has been prevented from using the Nutri-Score nutritional labelling system in Germany.

A temporary injunction has been issued by the District Court of Hamburg against Iglo Group using the voluntary health-indicator labelling format, which employs a colour-coding scale from A to E to reflect the nutritional value of products. It indicates the content of sugars, saturated fatty acids, salt and calories.

The injunction has been backed by one of Germany’s national trade associations, Schutzverband gegen Unwesen in der Wirtschaft eV based in Munich. just-food has contacted Iglo to get a bigger picture as to why the injunction has been filed.

France first adopted the system in 2017 followed by Belgium and Spain amid arguments among various countries and corporations over the best nutritional and health warning systems to use. Consumers can make informed decisions about the food products they choose to eat based on the labels.

Iglo, which only introduced Nutri-Score in Germany in January for 140 products, said in a statement it plans to appeal the decision with the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court as soon as possible.

According to Iglo, Germany has taken the measure despite a positive assessment of Nutri-Score by the Baden-Württemberg-based Max Rubner Institute, a research body for food and nutrition.

Antje Schubert, the board chairman at Iglo, said: “We are still committed to this so that we will meet consumer’s desire for transparent, independent and easily understandable labelling.” 

Meanwhile, French dairy giant Danone also employs Nutri-Score in Germany, but a spokesperson told just-food today (25 April) the company’s products are not affected by the decision taken against Iglo, adding: “We keep on fighting for Nutri-Score and continue to convince more and more companies to apply Nutri-Score to their products.”

The spokesperson said 90% of all Danone‘s dairy products on sale in Germany will carry the Nutri-Score labels by the end of the year. Currently, its FruchtZwerge and Dany brands have them, while its Activia range will follow around the start of May.   

Country manager Richard Trechman added: “From our point of view, the court decision is a step backwards. We know that consumers want easy-to-understand food labelling. The Nutri-Score is able to satisfy this need because it is simple, transparent and scientifically based.”