The Impact of Third-party Nutrition Labelling

March 2021

This report analyses the emergence of third-party nutrition labels and their relevance in a post-Coronavirus (COVID-19) world. While comparing different labels a particular focus is on Nutri-Score that has been in the spotlight recently receiving growing support from various European countries, companies and retailers. The briefing discusses the impact of third-party nutrition labels on consumer behaviour and provides an outlook on future developments.

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This report comes in PPT.

Key findings

COVID-19 expedites the need for healthy diets beyond surging obesity rates

Governments across the globe are under immense pressure to tackle surging obesity rates not only among adults, but also children. While previously major health risks related to obesity included cancer, diabetes and heart disease, COVID-19 aggravated the situation through increased risk of severe illness and even death for obese consumers. The challenging task governments face is how to get consumers to eat healthier diets and most importantly help them to understand nutritional information of food and beverage products while shopping.

Third-party nutrition labels gain growing support among various stakeholders

As a result, third-party nutrition labels indicating healthier variants have gained momentum. Among a large set of different schemes, Nutri-Score is the most talked about lately and receives a stronger focus in this report. Growing support for the scheme is reflected in its acceptance by a growing number of European countries and its implementation by leading food companies and grocery retailers.

Catching consumers’ attention and getting them to use labels are key challenges

Female consumers and parents are particularly keen to adopt healthier diets and are hence more receptive to FOP nutrition labels. Getting consumers’ attention is the key for them to include the label in their decision-making process. Nutri-Score has made inroads into the French market and shows signs of growing consumer acceptance.

EU moves towards a harmonised, mandatory scheme

The European Commission announced plans for a harmonised approach and a mandatory labelling scheme. This means that food and beverage companies need to prepare for their products to receive a front-of-pack (FOP) nutritional stamp. In view of this, early product re-formulations towards healthier variants are recommended.

Digital innovations will shape consumer shopping behaviour

Digital applications are thriving in a post-COVID-19 world and contribute to inform consumers about nutritional values through different labels and scoring systems. These easy-to-use solutions are expected to be well received by consumers.

Key findings
Soaring obesity and overweight rates put governments under pressure
Some nutrients continue to be heavily overconsumed
Added sugar now broken out separately on nutrition fact label in the US
COVID-19 expedites the need for nutrition labels to support healthy diets
The urge to expedite healthy eating leads to an uptick of FOP labels
Nutrition-specific labels attempt to inform or warn consumers
Indicator-based labels provide easy to use solutions for healthier options
Leading food players and retailers support implementation of Nutri-Score
Carrefour permits online search through the lens of Nutri-Score
Different views heat up the discussion about a European scheme
Middle-aged consumers and parents most keen to improve eating habits
Consumers show growing interest in nutrition labels
Getting consumers’ attention is key for adoption of nutrition labels
European Commission outlines plans for a harmonised, mandatory label
How can food companies achieve better Nutri-Score ratings?
Health claims expected to become another important marketing tool
Tobacco’s plain packaging and health warnings - a model for the future?
Digital applications expected to drive a healthy shopping basket
Nutrition label inspires creation of new sustainable front-of-pack label
Key takeaways
New methodology: readable big data captured by artificial intelligence
New Nutrition methodology in detail


This is the total amount of each of the eight nutrients purchased and is the sum of packaged food, fresh food, soft drinks and alcoholic drinks.

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