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Sustainability Database Integrates Front-of-Pack Labels to Shape Food Production Decisions

The Latis database provides food producers with uniform metrics to compare their products against internal sustainability standards and industry averages.
Dec. 20, 2021
Paolo DeAndreis

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Latis, the worldā€™s largest prodĀ­uct susĀ­tainĀ­abilĀ­ity dataĀ­base, will inteĀ­grate Nutri-Score and Eco-Score into its intelĀ­liĀ­gence platĀ­form.

The platĀ­form allows food proĀ­ducĀ­ers to verĀ­ify the health and enviĀ­ronĀ­menĀ­tal impacts of any ingreĀ­diĀ­ent, source locaĀ­tion or susĀ­tainĀ­abilĀ­ity stanĀ­dard on a prodĀ­uct. Among the metĀ­rics included by HowGood, the comĀ­pany behind Latis, are greenĀ­house gas emisĀ­sions, water usage and worker and aniĀ­mal welĀ­fare.

Nutri-Score estiĀ­mated scores are surĀ­faced in the platĀ­form to enable prodĀ­uct develĀ­opĀ­ers to forĀ­muĀ­late with it in mind, but it is done in a way that does not conĀ­fuse or conĀ­flate nutriĀ­tion with susĀ­tainĀ­abilĀ­ity.- Ethan Soloviev, chief innoĀ­vaĀ­tion offiĀ­cer, HowGood

To date, the dataĀ­base comĀ­prises more than 33,000 ingreĀ­diĀ­ents, chemĀ­iĀ­cals, and mateĀ­riĀ­als used in the food proĀ­ducĀ­tion process and two milĀ­lion food prodĀ­ucts. The comĀ­pany gathĀ­ers inforĀ­maĀ­tion from more than 550 difĀ­ferĀ­ent sources for its metĀ­rics.

See Also:Updated Nutri-Score Label Indicates Whether Food Is Processed, Organic

Ethan Soloviev, HowGoodā€™s chief innoĀ­vaĀ­tion offiĀ­cer, told Olive Oil Times that Latis allows food proĀ­ducĀ­ers to see the impact of a sinĀ­gle ingreĀ­diĀ­ent or entire food prodĀ­uct on the enviĀ­ronĀ­ment and comĀ­pare it with othĀ­ers. The goal is to increase transĀ­parency in the food proĀ­ducĀ­tion indusĀ­try while allowĀ­ing proĀ­ducĀ­ers to underĀ­stand how each ingreĀ­diĀ­ent impacts an overĀ­all prodĀ­uct.

ā€œFor examĀ­ple, while someĀ­thing like ā€‹ā€˜natĀ­ural flaĀ­vorsā€™ may score low on proĀ­cessĀ­ing, as an ingreĀ­diĀ­ent makĀ­ing up less than one perĀ­cent of the forĀ­mula, it would not affect the overĀ­all score of a prodĀ­uct in the same way as an ingreĀ­diĀ­ent closer to the top of the ingreĀ­diĀ­ent list,ā€ Soloviev said.

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He added that inteĀ­gratĀ­ing Nutri-Score and Eco-Score into the platĀ­form ā€‹ā€œproĀ­vides cusĀ­tomers with uniĀ­form metĀ­rics to comĀ­pare their prodĀ­uct impact against interĀ­nal goals and indusĀ­try averĀ­ages.ā€

The develĀ­opĀ­ers of Latis hope this will lead more comĀ­paĀ­nies ā€“ such as Danone and Walmart ā€“ to reforĀ­muĀ­late their food offerĀ­ings to achieve betĀ­ter scores.

This pheĀ­nomĀ­eĀ­non has already been seen with Nutri-Score, a five-color front-of-pack-label (FOPL) that meaĀ­sures the presĀ­ence or absence of sevĀ­eral key macro ingreĀ­diĀ­ents, includĀ­iŪ; w²ēxė§ÕOeēożbĀ¤P£7ń\Q‹×ĻT0«ng sugar, fat, caloĀ­ries and sodium, per 100ā€Ægrams or 100ā€ÆmilĀ­liĀ­liters.

Like Nutri-Score, Eco-Score also rates food on a color/letter scale. Both sysĀ­tems use a ā€‹ā€œGreen Aā€ to label the healthĀ­iĀ­est or most enviĀ­ronĀ­menĀ­tally friendly option and ā€‹ā€œRed Eā€ for the least healthy or enviĀ­ronĀ­menĀ­tally friendly prodĀ­ucts.

Unlike other labels, such as the Med-Index, Nutri-Score is meant to proĀ­vide a quick and straightĀ­forĀ­ward sumĀ­mary of inforĀ­maĀ­tion about the nutriĀ­tional proĀ­file of a food prodĀ­uct and does not take into account its susĀ­tainĀ­abilĀ­ity.

Soloviev said that Latis kept this in mind when decidĀ­ing how to inteĀ­grate the FOPL into the platĀ­form.

See Also:Proposed Label Would Allow Consumers to Compare Sustainability of Food Items

ā€œNutri-Score estiĀ­mated scores are surĀ­faced in the platĀ­form to enable prodĀ­uct develĀ­opĀ­ers to forĀ­muĀ­late with it in mind, but it is done in a way that does not conĀ­fuse or conĀ­flate nutriĀ­tion with susĀ­tainĀ­abilĀ­ity,ā€ he said.

When Nutri-Score was adopted in Germany in 2020, the countryā€™s sciĀ­enĀ­tific adviĀ­sory board on agriĀ­culĀ­tural polĀ­icy, food and conĀ­sumer health proĀ­tecĀ­tion (WBAE) warned that the FOPL should also show the greenĀ­house gas emisĀ­sions related to any prodĀ­uct on the shelves.

ā€œPromoting more susĀ­tainĀ­able food choices across the whole specĀ­trum of sociĀ­ety requires a fair frameĀ­work encomĀ­passĀ­ing the proĀ­viĀ­sion of solid and comĀ­preĀ­henĀ­siĀ­ble inforĀ­maĀ­tion, easy access to healthy foods, more food choice options and price incenĀ­tives which make susĀ­tainĀ­able choices finanĀ­cially more attracĀ­tive for the conĀ­sumer,ā€ Britta Renner, of WBAE, said at the time.

Since makĀ­ing this stateĀ­ment, Eco-Score has been develĀ­oped with the help of sevĀ­eral promiĀ­nent memĀ­bers of the food indusĀ­try. Now, a growĀ­ing numĀ­ber of food proĀ­ducĀ­ers and retailĀ­ers throughĀ­out Europe are adoptĀ­ing its labels.

While data about how conĀ­sumersā€™ choices are affected by the new labels have not yet been fully gathĀ­ered and anaĀ­lyzed, a 2020 global surĀ­vey by Accenture sugĀ­gested that 33 perĀ­cent of conĀ­sumers rank susĀ­tainĀ­abilĀ­ity as one of their top three purĀ­chasĀ­ing criĀ­teĀ­ria.

According to HowGood, the susĀ­tainĀ­abilĀ­ity dataĀ­base will help proĀ­ducĀ­ers betĀ­ter underĀ­stand how changes in the prodĀ­uct develĀ­opĀ­ment process will impact how conĀ­sumers perĀ­ceive their prodĀ­ucts.

ā€œBy havĀ­ing this inforĀ­maĀ­tion readĀ­ily availĀ­able in Latis, HowGood cusĀ­tomers can betĀ­ter underĀ­stand how any changes made in the prodĀ­uct develĀ­opĀ­ment process can impact these scores to ensure their prodĀ­ucts are uniĀ­verĀ­sally conĀ­sidĀ­ered healthĀ­ful and enviĀ­ronĀ­menĀ­tally friendly,ā€ the comĀ­pany said.


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