In January 2021, the front-of-pack Eco-Score food label was introduced to help consumers more easily assess the environmental impact of a product through color coding and a score out of 100. The score also takes into account the product’s packaging, and a score reduction of up to 15 points is applied to products with packaging that is not recyclable.
So far, the label has been taken up mainly by small French food companies such as FoodCherí, Frigo Magic, and Seazon. The two big retailers Colruyt and Lidl have now also announced to trial EcoScore for their own applications and specific product lines.
The calculation of the score relies on specific life cycle assessment (LCA) data from the ADEME’s (Agence de la transition écologique) Agribalyse project. The French agency has previously evaluated the environmental impact of at least 2500 products and compiled them into a database. The ecological footprint label considers, among others, impacts such as climate change, water use, land use, as well as acidification.
Critics of Eco-Score remarked the label may oversimplify the assessment of a product’s environmental impact for the consumer. However, Christian Reynolds, senior lecturer at the Centre for Food Policy commented that “systems like this are important because they are accessible and easy to interpret.”
Lidl plans to start discussions on the use of the Eco-Score with representatives from civil society, industry, and regulators, followed by a test phase in its Berlin branches. Depending on the success of the trial, Lidl will consider implementing the EcoScore across all its German businesses.
Katy Askew (April 9, 2021). “Eco-Score’s European expansion: Lidl and Colruyt adopt environmental footprint labelling.” Dairy Reporter
Flora Southey (January 21, 2021). “First Nutri-Score for nutrition, now Eco-Score for the environment: New FOP lands in France.” Dairy Reporter
Eco-Score (2021). “Eco-score presentation.”