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Journal Articles European Journal of Public Health Year : 2019

How the French Nutri-Score can impact sales of processed-foods? A complex system perspective


Background Nutri-Score (NS) is France Front-of-Pack Food Labelling System to provide at-a-glance information about the nutritional quality of pre-packaged food products. Based on the Food Standards Agency nutrient profiling system, its algorithm generates a score by taking into account the presence of both the harmful and beneficial contents in food. In this presentation, we report on our analysis of the logic model of NS and on its potential impact on the production and marketing of processed foods. Methods We reviewed the scientific and grey literature on NS to identify its potential mechanisms and loci of change. We also appraised the policy against Meadow’s leverage points for system change. Results The official adoption of the NS algorithm is instrumental in modifying both consumer food-related behaviours and food industry corporate practices. The algorithm takes 3 forms: 1) the front-of-pack logo indicating an integrated colour/letter score for the product, 2) mobile device applications which help consumers assess the nutritional value of food products even without an affixed logo, 3) nutritional parameters which influence food manufacturing decision-making in the industry. NS can trigger different drivers of corporate practice. From the current uptake trends, small and medium size food manufacturers appear more likely to welcome the NS Logo as a means to stand out against the multinational corporations presently dominating the market. As for the capacity of NS to transform the existing systems of producing and marketing processed foods, we find that it is mostly by changing the flow of information. NS presents new information, previously inaccessible to consumers, to support the population in making healthier food choices by providing a means for nuanced nutritional comparisons between food products of the same category. Conclusions We conclude on the potential evolution of Nutri-Score and how its uptake by food corporations may be fostered. Key messages Nutri-Score’s impact is through: the front-of-pack logo; nutrition apps; and as a parameter of food industry decision-making. Nutri-Score impacts the flow of information of the processed-food system.


Dates and versions

hal-02447486 , version 1 (21-01-2020)



Eric Breton, O Ode, T Oikonomidi. How the French Nutri-Score can impact sales of processed-foods? A complex system perspective. European Journal of Public Health, 2019, 29 (Supplement_4), ⟨10.1093/eurpub/ckz187.026⟩. ⟨hal-02447486⟩
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