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New French system rates products’ health and eco-credentials

By Caroline Scott-Thomas , 10-Dec-2012

French organisation Institut Noteo has developed a free-access system that allows shoppers to check and compare products’ health and eco-credentials online.

Consumers can either use the Noteo app or visit the company’s website to see which chemicals and ingredients are present in 45,000 different products, including personal care, food and drink, and household products.

The system employs independent experts to rate products based on about 400 different variables, the company says, allowing it to provide ratings for social, environmental, health and budgetary factors. These four factors are then combined to provide an overall average score, although there is also the option to personalise these factors to better reflect an individual’s specific concerns.

A full list of experts employed to conduct product assessments – which includes dieticians, social responsibility and environmental experts and toxicologists – is available on its website .

The Institut Noteo was founded by Baptiste Marty in 2008, who had had the idea of developing a ranking system for commonly consumed products a couple of years earlier. It took another five years of research and consultation with experts to develop the database, to which the company hopes to add another 45,000 products in the near future.

According to the company, the idea was to give power back to consumers, while also providing an incentive to manufacturers to make their production processes greener.

The database is just the latest independently developed rating system for French shoppers. Last month, three French dads launched www.mesgouts.fr , which rates products based on seven factors: quality, nutrition, origin, environment, ethics/social, price, and ratings from other users. Like Noteo, it also includes the option to personalise preferences.

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