THE ECO-SCORE MAKES SUSTAINABILITY VISIBLE
In the future, consumers in French supermarkets will be able to see the footprint of their products at a glance with the new Eco-score label. Similarly to the Nutri-score label, the Eco-score works using a colour-coded system, going from green to red, in combination with the letters A to E and a points system ranging from 100 to 0. If an item has the lowest level of impact on the environment, it is awarded a green A, and if it has the greatest it is given a red E.
The label system devised by the companies La Fourche, Yuka, FoodChéri, Seazon, Marmiton, Etiquettable, Open Food Facts, ECO2 initiative, ScanUp and Frigo Magic is based on product information from manufacturers and takes the pollution caused throughout the entire value-added chain into account, from obtaining the raw materials to disposal and/or recycling. Factors regarding biodiversity, origin and the season are also drawn on. Detailed data are also fed in via the participatory internet portal, “Open Food Facts”. Volunteers can upload new product photos from around the world onto this common database. “To find the Eco-score of a product, you just scan it with the Open Food Facts App. We have already calculated the score for over 240,000 products sold in France,” states the platform.
AN ECO-SCORE THAT DOESEN'T GET THE WHOLE PICTURE?
Before the campaign presented the Eco-score label in France, environmental protection representatives had already proffered criticism: namely, that the label could potentially evaluate products from intensive farming as good even if they did not deserve the rating, as heavily industrialised branches of industry frequently include short delivery routes. In addition, gaps in the evaluation system have been the subject of complaint from Interbev, a trade association for the beef industry.
Supporters are aware of the limits of the score, according to statements in press reports. However, consumers could still benefit from new labelling with the Eco-score. Grass-fed beef from France would always receive a better rating than cows from Brazil that had never seen a field.
AS SUCCESSFUL AS THE NUTRI-score?
Whether the Eco-score will ultimately be as successful as the Nutri-score remains to be seen. In any case, it must be noted that the nutrition label is being seen more and more often on packaging in Europe three years after its introduction. In January 2021, the REWE Group announced that all packaging of its own-brand products would include the Nutri-score label.
The trademark owner Santé Publique France (SPF) also stated that the interim results were positive for France at the beginning of 2021. According to a survey, 57% of consumers said that they knew the logo and had changed one or several of their purchasing habits due to the introduction of the Nutri-score. The emblem is currently enjoying huge visibility on the food packaging of around 500 companies in France.