• +31 (0)629043593
  • info@speysfsc.com


Complexities and Opportunities of the Nutri-Score System

The Nutri-Score system, a front-of-pack labeling initiative, has emerged as a tool to guide consumers toward healthier food choices. With its intuitive letter and colour-coded approach, the system is designed to provide consumers with clear and concise information about the nutritional quality of food products. For businesses, however, the decision to embrace or resist the Nutri-Score is not as straightforward as a single-letter.

This article explores the advantages and disadvantages of the Nutri-Score, shedding light on the complexities that make this decision challenging for companies.

Let us start with the impact on consumer behaviour, what do scientific papers reveal?

Several consumer behaviour studies have shown that the Nutri-Score system effectively influences purchasing decisions. The intuitive colour-coded design facilitates quick comparisons, encouraging consumers to opt for products with a “higher nutritional score”. Additionally, the system has been found to be particularly effective in nudging consumers towards healthier choices within specific food categories.

This means that that the Nutri-Score is indeed an effective label to attract consumers’ attention to your product.

Another argument for putting the Nutri-Score on your product is that the perceived transparency by the consumer aligns with the growing demand for healthier food choices, potentially driving increased trust and loyalty in your product.

However, from simplifying very complex food systems into quick available visible information comes a downside: oversimplification. Businesses offering products rich in particular fats, such as omega 3 fatty acids or other specific nutrients might receive lower scores. This potentially discourages consumers choosing nutritionally beneficial items.

The Nutri-Score also does not account for the bioavailability of nutrients in general, or for the use of functional ingredients in products.

And then, there is the overall dilemma…

It may be challenging to reformulate products to achieve a better Nutri-Score without compromising on other essential aspects such as taste, texture, or authenticity. This poses a hurdle for businesses aiming to balance health considerations with their product integrity.

What also never should be overlooked in the decision is the ‘target consumer’. Whether the target audience consists of health-conscious individuals, diverse cultural groups, or those with specific dietary requirements, a comprehensive evaluation ensures that the chosen approach aligns with the unique needs and expectations of the intended consumers.

To Nutri or not to Nutri—an essential question for businesses seeking to align with evolving consumer preferences. At SPEYS, we view the Nutri-Score not just as a label. We see it as an opportunity for your company to lead in nutritional transparency. We provide in-depth analyses, potential impacts on reformulation, and effective strategies. This article serves as an introduction to the complexities and potentials of the Nutri-Score, and we invite businesses to connect with us for personalised consultations. Let SPEYS be your partner in leveraging the Nutri-Score system for a healthier, more transparent future.


De Temmerman, J., Heeremans, E., Slabbinck, H., & Vermeir, I. (2021). The impact of the Nutri-Score nutrition label on perceived healthiness and purchase intentions. Appetite, 157, 104995.

Dubois, P., Albuquerque, P., Allais, O., Bonnet, C., Bertail, P., Combris, P., … & Chandon, P. (2021). Effects of front-of-pack labels on the nutritional quality of supermarket food purchases: evidence from a large-scale randomized controlled trial. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 49(1), 119-138.

Folkvord, F., Bergmans, N., & Pabian, S. (2021). The effect of the nutri-score label on consumer’s attitudes, taste perception and purchase intention: An experimental pilot study. Food Quality and Preference, 94, 104303.

He, J., Mazzù, M. F., & Baccelloni, A. (2023). A 20-Country Comparative Assessment of the Effectiveness of Nutri-Score vs. NutrInform Battery Front-of-Pack Nutritional Labels on Consumer Subjective Understanding and Liking. Nutrients, 15(13), 2852.

Klerks, M., Román, S., Verkerk, R., & Sanchez-Siles, L. (2022). Are cereal bars significantly healthier and more natural than chocolate bars? A preliminary assessment in the German market. Journal of Functional Foods, 89, 104940.

Kühne, S. J., Reijnen, E., Granja, G., & Hansen, R. S. (2022). Labels Affect Food Choices, but in What Ways?. Nutrients, 14(15), 3204.

Panczyk, M., Dobrowolski, H., Sińska, B. I., Kucharska, A., Jaworski, M., & Traczyk, I. (2023). Food Front-of-Pack Labelling and the Nutri-Score Nutrition Label-Poland-Wide Cross-Sectional Expert Opinion Study. Foods (Basel, Switzerland), 12(12), 2346.

Poon, T., Labonté, M. È., Mulligan, C., Ahmed, M., Dickinson, K. M., & L’Abbé, M. R. (2018). Comparison of nutrient profiling models for assessing the nutritional quality of foods: A validation study. British Journal of Nutrition, 120(5), 567-582.

Ter Borg, S., Steenbergen, E., Milder, I. E. J., & Temme, E. H. M. (2021). Evaluation of Nutri-Score in Relation to Dietary Guidelines and Food Reformulation in The Netherlands. Nutrients, 13(12), 4536.

Van der Stricht, H., Profeta, A., Hung, Y., & Verbeke, W. (2023). Consumers’ willingness-to-buy pasta with microalgae proteins–Which label can promote sales?. Food Quality and Preference, 110, 104948.