French Minister of Agriculture Questions the Relevance of the Nutri-Score Algorithm

26 November 2021

The French Minister for Agriculture and Food, Julien Denormandie recently acknowledged the need to review the nutrition rating system known as Nutri-Score; stating that the system is currently based on parameters that do not help consumers make healthy and informed food choices. 

In a speech delivered to the Committee on Economic Affairs of the French Senate, Denormandie notably denounced that the quantities assessed were not in line with feeding practices, and could end up becoming detrimental for French products such as Protected Designation of Origin (PDOs). Denormandie also called for a unified European response on the algorithm, adding that France would not make Nutri-score mandatory until the EU decided to do so. 

The current Nutri-Score algorithm is nutrient-based, meaning that it takes into account  the nutrients to be favored (e.g. fiber, proteins, fruits, nuts, rapeseed oil, olive oil… ) or limited (e.g.  saturated fatty acids, sugars, salt) per 100 gr or 100 ml. This means that the algorithm does not take in account additives, pesticides, allergens or the degree of processing of foodstuffs. The current algorithm is thus highly problematic as it disregards key variables that have been proven to have a direct impact on obesity rates and the rise of non-communicable diseases (e.g., type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer) across Europe.