The Nutriscore system now has a legal basis in Belgium

Five letters and five colours can now inform you about the nutritional quality of the food you buy.

Outgoing Minister of Social Affairs and Health, Maggie De Block, kicked off this week an information campaign to promote nutriscore, a scheme designed to  inform consumers about the nutritional value of food. The campaign is visible on and will also be advertised in two government-sponsored commercials over the next few days.

Imported from France, the nutriscore system offers five letters, from A to E, and five colors defining the nutritional value of a product.

The nutriscore of a particular product will be provided by companies on a voluntary basis: Carrefour, Colruyt, Delhaize and Intermarché distribution groups have already signed up to the system, as have producers Danone, Alpro and Elvea. By refusing to legally require companies to join the scheme, Minister De Block is betting on the power of the market and consumer choice as a means of encouraging companies to sign up.

The royal decree providing the legal basis of the nutriscore programme was published on Monday in the Moniteur.

According to Fevia, the federation of the Belgian food industry, a complementary nutritional labeling system should, first and foremost, be harmonized at the European level and should remain voluntary.

The consumer protection organization Test-Achats, which initiated the development of its own nutriscore system, welcomed the launch of the campaign. In contrast to Fevia, Test Achats wants the nutriscore to become the only mandatory label at the European level.