It would be nice to be able to see at a glance how much sugar, fat, salt and other things the food of choice contains. The so-called Nutri-Score would help here. Unfortunately, its use is voluntary for the manufacturers. 60 percent do without nutritional labeling.
The Germans eat too unhealthily. Too much sugar, fat, salt and carbohydrates make people fat and sick. In addition to sufficient exercise, a healthy and balanced diet can help here. In the latter case, the Nutri-Score could be useful for identifying unhealthy things in processed foods.
Unfortunately, the food industry in this country has successfully resisted the mandatory use of the label and cheated on transparent legal regulations with voluntary commitments. The then Federal Minister of Food Julia Klöckner, contrary to her assurances, largely allowed her to do so. So far, companies have been able to decide for themselves whether to use the label or not.
The consumer advice centers now wanted to know how far the manufacturers are voluntarily in terms of transparency and have checked hundreds of foods from the product groups of bread and rolls, pizza, milk and milk drinks, plant-based drinks and cereals for labeling with the Nutri-Score. The results were compared with the information that the consumer centers had collected as part of a pre-check for the same products a year earlier. The results are somewhat sobering. Because only 579 of 1451 products (40 percent) carried a Nutri-Score and thus less than half of the examined foods.
"We demand more speed from the food industry when it comes to Nutri-Score," says Armin Valet from the Hamburg Consumer Advice Center. "Coloured nutritional value labeling can be much more meaningful within a product group if it is used across the board. But the introduction is progressing slowly. That is why the Nutri-Score should become mandatory throughout Europe."
The results of the market checks show that the Nutri-Score helps to select foods with a better nutrient composition within a product group, according to the consumer advocates. The worse the Nutri-Score for bread, for example, the higher the average salt content in the products. In pizzas, the average saturated fat content is about four times higher when the package says a D instead of an A.