The Nutri-Score algorithm: Evaluation of its validation process

Daphne L.M. van der Bend*, Manon van Eijsden, Michelle H.I. van Roost, Kees de Graaf, Annet J.C. Roodenburg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Nutri-Score front-of-pack label, which classifies the nutritional quality of products in one of 5 classes (A to E), is one of the main candidates for standardized front-of-pack labeling in the EU. The algorithm underpinning the Nutri-Score label is derived from the Food Standard Agency (FSA) nutrient profile model, originally a binary model developed to regulate the marketing of foods to children in the UK. This review describes the development and validation process of the Nutri-Score algorithm. While the Nutri-Score label is one of the most studied front-of-pack labels in the EU, its validity and applicability in the European context is still undetermined. For several European countries, content validity (i.e., ability to rank foods according to healthfulness) has been evaluated. Studies showed Nutri-Score's ability to classify foods across the board of the total food supply, but did not show the actual healthfulness of products within different classes. Convergent validity (i.e., ability to categorize products in a similar way as other systems such as dietary guidelines) was assessed with the French dietary guidelines; further adaptations of the Nutri-Score algorithm seem needed to ensure alignment with food-based dietary guidelines across the EU. Predictive validity (i.e., ability to predict disease risk when applied to population dietary data) could be re-assessed after adaptations are made to the algorithm. Currently, seven countries have implemented or aim to implement Nutri-Score. These countries appointed an international scientific committee to evaluate Nutri-Score, its underlying algorithm and its applicability in a European context. With this review, we hope to contribute to the scientific and political discussions with respect to nutrition labeling in the EU.

Original languageEnglish
Article number974003
JournalFrontiers in Nutrition
Volume9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2022

Keywords

  • front-of-pack labeling
  • Nutri-Score
  • nutrient profile models
  • review
  • validity

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