Nestlé has confirmed it will use Nutri-Score front-of-pack nutrition labelling on its products sold in five European markets starting in the first half of 2020.

As well as in Switzerland, Nestlé plans to use the labels – a colour-coded system with a scale ranging from A (healthier choices) to E (less healthy choices) – on its brands sold in Austria, Belgium, France and Germany.

Cereal Partners Worldwide, the international breakfast venture between Nestlé and US food heavyweight General Mills, will also implement Nutri-Score on its product packaging in the same countries.

In total, more than 5,000 products in the five countries will feature Nutri-Score.

Nestlé first revealed its plans in June, suggesting then it would introduce the labels on its products sold in countries that had introduced Nutri-Score, which is a voluntary scheme.

Today (26 November), Nestlé confirmed that approach, saying the roll-out of Nutri-Score is in European countries that already support the system. The company added it and Cereal Partners Worldwide are “ready to implement it in further countries that request it or notify it to the European Commission”.

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By GlobalData

Marco Settembri, the CEO of Nestlé’s operations in Europe, Middle East and North Africa said: “Our ambition is to have one of the healthiest options in every product category we offer. Nutri-Score will motivate us and help track our progress. I am proud that Nestlé is the first company to roll out Nutri-Score at this scale in Europe. We now want to move quickly as we are sure this is the right way forward.”

David Clark, president and CEO of Cereal Partners Worldwide, said: “Our consumers are at the heart of this [healthy eating] quest – past, present, and future. That’s why we’re using Nutri-Score to guide the development and communication of the nutritional value of our products.”

Nestlé brands on which Nutri-Score will appear include plant-based products from Garden Gourmet, Nesquik chocolate-flavoured milk, Buitoni pizzas, Nescafé coffee, Maggi culinary products and KitKat chocolate. Cereal Partners Worldwide will use Nutri-Score on its breakfast cereals, including Fitness and Chocapic. Some products such as infant formula are out of scope or fall under separate regulations.

Several consumer bodies, which are members of The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC), have launched a petition asking the European Commission to make Nutri-Score mandatory across the European Union.

Monique Goyens, director-general of BEUC said: “We consider Nutri-Score to be a major tool to contribute to tackling the obesity crisis. We can only recommend that other companies follow Nestlé’s excellent example and display Nutri-Score on their products.”

But two years after the scheme was adopted in France – Nutri-Score’s birthplace – the labels are used on “barely 5%” of products marketed there, according to the consumer association UFC Que Choisir.