An EU proposal of a harmonized front-of-pack nutrition label is expected to come by the end of 2022. This to help consumers making healthier food choices. Indeed, we need to change our eating habits. But it is hard. Most people know what they should (not) eat, yet that extra piece of pie still slips through. Would then a nutrition label really make a difference? I say yes. And at Paulig we are dedicated to being part of the solution for a healthier world, finally launching our nutrition framework, based on Nutri-Score – a nutrition label.
I am passionate about food. Eating it. Breathing it. Studying it. Especially in relation to health. I have put almost two decades on studying and doing research on food science, nutrition, public health, and consumer preferences. I even love the complex regulation around food and health, believe it or not. And I am passionate about creating impact.
Leaving the academia and a parallel consulting career for the food and beverage industry in 2020, I now utilize all that knowledge and experience in my role as Sustainability Program Manager, Nutrition & Food Health at Paulig, driving the company’s work around nutrition and health.
My believe is that all food and beverage companies have a responsibility towards the consumers’ health. So, I was thrilled, learning that Paulig had set an ambition of 70% of the company’s net sales coming from products and services enabling health and wellbeing of people and the planet by 2030. Starting with the people part, my job is to put these fancy words into action. Because, what does a “product enabling health for people” really mean anyways?
For sure, it all comes down to healthier products, reaching all the way into our stomachs. To define a product enabling health for people, a nutrition framework was created. Against this framework, basically Paulig’s entire food and mixed drink portfolio has been evaluated. I am talking about thousands of products. This means that we now have the sales figures from products “enabling health for people”: 49% in 2020. And there we have our baseline.
The nutrition framework is now being integrated in Paulig’s product development and innovation processes, guiding the work towards our ambition of 70% of the sales coming from products enabling health for people. So, let us talk about this framework. It is based on the front-of-pack nutrition label Nutri-Score that is developed by independent researchers, endorsed by several NGO's, and the most widely used label on the European market. Nutri-Score’s transparent and intuitive five-graded, color-coded layout comprises several features that contribute to helping consumers making healthier choices, according to the European Commission’s comprehensive scientific review on the subject.
To be clear, Nutri-Score’s green colors are basically what guides us in the healthier direction. But we have developed the model further to align even better with dietary guidelines*. And of course, we have been monitoring closely the ongoing EU process of a harmonized nutrition label, welcoming this initiative to help consumers make healthier choices. We will ensure our approach is aligned with the final decision, even aiming to exceed requirements.
So back to the question, can a nutrition label change our eating habits? Well, at least it helps and guides us as a company in our strive for a healthier and more transparent direction, creating a wide range of tasty, healthier products.
But we are not stopping here. Our next step is to develop a framework to also define the planet part, answering to our ambition of 70% sales coming from products enabling health for people and the planet. But did you know? Nutritious food – just per se – is often better also for the planet. Stay tuned for more, and let’s keep in touch!
*In Nutri-Score’s “healthy food parameter” Paulig choose to include for example whole grain and seeds in our nutrition framework, to align even better with dietary guidelines. And for our flavoring products, that are eaten in very small amounts but still evaluated per 100 grams, we allow yellow as the threshold for enabling health. Interested in more details? Read more in our Sustainability report.
Interview: Karin Jonsson about the EU proposal of a harmonized front-of-pack nutrition label
The interview was published by the Swedish member organization Livsmedel i Fokus in April, 2022.