Health minister Marisol Touraine announced that the Nutri-Score, or 5-C logo, had been selected as the most effective front-of-pack label last week.
Yesterday the WHO said: “France’s recent decision to recommend the Nutri-Score system, a straightforward labelling system that uses colour codes to guide consumers at a glance on the nutritional value of food products, marks an important achievement for nutrition in the WHO European Region. It will build on other ongoing efforts in the country to create healthy food environments.”
“Evidence now from France and elsewhere shows that this type of labelling can contribute to informing healthy choices, meeting growing consumer demands for information on healthier options and limiting the consumption of foods high in energy, saturated fats, sugar or salt, in the context of an overall improvement in the nutritional quality of diets.
Rules governing the European Union’s single market prevent individual member states from making such front-of-pack labelling but the UK’s traffic light logo has been widely adopted by British supermarkets.
France became the second country in Europe to officially recommend colour coded nutrition label, after the UK’s Food Standards Agency’s traffic light system.
The two differ in that the French logo assesses the global nutrient profile of a food, attributing one colour accordingly, while the UK’s traffic light label does so on an individual basis, and could give the same product a green light for its salt content but a red light for saturated fat.
The organisation, a branch of the United Nations, also commended the country's robust use of evidence to inform its decision "including a study that compared the validity of four different nutrient labelling systems and concluded that the Nutri-score system clearly stood out as the most consumer-friendly scheme. Use of the label was also associated with a better nutritional profile of supermarket purchases among study participants".