Global food giant Nestlé has announced it will adopt the Nutri-Score front-of-pack labelling scheme by the end of this year in European countries that already support it.

The Switzerland-based company said Nutri-Score – a ‘traffic light’ nutritional-profile system rating products from good to bad in areas such as sugar, salt and fat levels – is its “preferred nutrition-labelling scheme for food and beverage products in Continental Europe”.

In March 2017, Nestlé declared its support for the development of a common European colour-coded front-of-pack labelling scheme. It engaged with industry, public authorities and other partners to explore a variety of options.

It started trials of a rival system – Evolved Nutrition Label (ENL) – but along with food industry peers, including Unilever, Mondelez International and PepsiCo, Nestlé suspended it in November last year.

Since then, Nutri-Score seems to have forged ahead as the food-labelling system of choice.

Public health authorities in France, Belgium and Switzerland have recommended the use of Nutri-Score – although it is not mandatory – and it is understood the Netherlands is also considering its implementation, while a number of other countries have indicated their intention to follow suit.

And individual companies have, like Nestlé, decided independently to adopt the Nutri-Score scheme.

Just last week two companies – Dutch vegetable products manufacturer Hak and Iglo, the frozen-food business owned by UK-based Nomad Foods – said they are to use the labels on the products they sell in the Netherlands.

Nestlé said it believes it is time to move quickly and decisively to build broader momentum in favour of Nutri-Score across continental Europe.

Marco Settembri, chief executive officer of Nestlé for Europe, Middle East and North Africa, said: “Our support for Nutri-Score reflects our commitment to good nutrition and informed choices. It is also a matter of transparency. Europeans are increasingly eager to know what is in the food and beverages they consume. We want to provide them with easy-to-understand nutritional information and to do this quickly.

“Scientific evidence and increasing consumer support show that Nutri-Score is a solution that works in continental Europe.”

Nestlé said it aims to implement Nutri-Score “at scale”.