Eco-Score, la note environnementale des produits alimentaires

Depuis le 7 janvier, l'Eco-Score a fait son apparition sur le site et l'app Open Food Facts !
Découvrir l'Eco-Score

Eco-Score

Eco-Score: the environmental impact of food products

Eco-Score

The Eco-Score is an environmental score (ecoscore) from A to E which makes it easy to compare the impact of food products on the environment.

Why an environmental score?

More and more consumers are concerned about the impact of their food not only on their health, but also on the health of our planet. Thanks to the Nutri-Score, it is now very easy to take into account the nutritional quality of products when purchasing, but it is very difficult if not impossible to compare their environmental footprint.

It is urgent to provide consumers with clear information about this environmental footprint, so that they can easily and quickly compare it for several products. This is what the Eco-Score environmental grade allows.

The Eco-Score, a tool for more sustainable food

The Eco-Score helps consumers who wish to move towards a more sustainable diet, by encouraging them to:

  • Eat less meat but of better quality
  • Consume more organic products and products with quality labels
  • Favor local and seasonal products, with little packaging
  • Limit products containing problematic ingredients (endangered fish, unsustainable palm oil)

What is the Eco-Score?

The Eco-Score is designed on a model similar to the Nutri-Score: it is a grade from A to E which summarizes 15 environmental impacts. The Eco-Score score is materialized by a colored leaf-shaped logo with a letter from A (very low impact) to E (very high impact).

Ecoscore

The Eco-Score is supported by a consortium of many actors committed to better nutrition.

The actors of the Eco-Score collective

How is the Eco-Score computed?

The benchmark score: life cycle analysis (LCA) with data from the Agribalyse database

For each product category, a benchmark score is established using data from the Agribalyse environmental database designed by ADEME and INRAE. These data correspond to the life cycle analysis (LCA) of the products.

Life cycle assessment (LCA)

Life cycle analysisis a standardized assessment method for carrying out a multi-stage environmental assessment and multi-criteria:

  • 6 production steps: agriculture, processing, packaging, transportation, distribution and consumption
  • 14 environmental impact indicators: climate change/carbon footprint, ozone layer depletion, ionizing radiation, land, water, and energy use; pollution of air and marine and fresh water (particles, acidification, eutrophication); and depletion of resources.

Bonuses and penalties to refine the grading of each product

In order to take into account certain impacts on the environment which are not covered well by the life cycle analysis (such as biodiversity) and the specificities of each product within the same category, the score of reference is modulated with bonuses and penalties:

Mode of production

A bonus is awarded to products that have an official label, a label or a certification that guarantees environmental benefits (organic, fair trade, HVE, Label Rouge, Bleu Blanc Cœur, MSC/ASC).

Origin of ingredients

A bonus is awarded based on the origin of the ingredients. This bonus takes into account the impact on transportation and also the environmental policy of each producer's country.

Endangered species

A penalty is given to products that contain ingredients that have significant negative impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems, such as palm oil, the production of which is responsible for massive deforestation.

Packaging

A penalty is computed to take into account the circularity of packaging (use of recycled raw material and recyclability) and overpacking.

An increased need for transparency to better measure and reduce environmental impacts

To accurately calculate the Eco-Score, it is necessary to have information which is not necessarily specified on the packaging (such as the origin and the exact percentage of each ingredient) or which is rarely available in usable form (such as a list of all the components of the packaging with the precise types of plastics used).

Average values are used when this information is not yet available, but we are now calling on everyone to help us collect this information which will be very useful for the Eco-Score but also for many other uses.



How to see the Eco-Score for food products?

Scan products with the Open Food Facts app

The Open Food Facts app allows you to quickly get the Eco-Score of products: all you have to do is scan their barcode. If you have already installed the Open Food Facts app, please update it to get the new version!

The Eco-Score on the Open Food Facts app

The Eco-Score is or will soon be available in the apps of other actions who built the Eco-Score. And Open Food Facts is a Wikipedia of foods that anyone can reuse freely and for free. The more than 100 applications that use the Open Food Facts database will also be able to display the Eco-Score that we calculate.

Compare the Eco-Score of products on the Open Food Facts site

The Open Food Facts website allows everyone to see and compare the ecoscore of more than 750,000 food products sold in France. The results of each search show the nutritional quality with the Nutri-Score, ultra-processed foods with NOVA, and the environmental impact with the Eco-Score.

The Eco-Score of ready meals
The Eco-Score of prepared meals on Open Food Facts


Classify and explore products by Eco-Score on Open Food Facts

It is also possible to sort and explore the products of any category by Eco-Score.

Products with the best Eco-Score Explore products by Eco-Score

And see at a glance the Eco-Score of the products of a category or a brand.

Eco-Score of ready meals
The Eco-Score of prepared meals. Click to see the products for each grade on Open Food Facts.

Obtain the details of the Eco-Score computation for all products

For each product, a link allows you to display the complete details of the Eco-Score score computation.

And if information is missing, anyone can add it: the manufacturer of the product but also all citizens committed to the climate, environmental protection and transparency.

Anyone can complete the information to calculate the Eco-Score


How the Eco-Score can encourage the improvement of products and the reduction of their environmental impacts

The Eco-Score has two levers of action:

  • The Eco-Score allows a more informed choice of consumers who can now easily take into account the environmental impact of products as a criterion of choice.
  • The Eco-Score encourages manufacturers to improve their products so that they achieve a higher Eco-Score rating.

This second lever is very important because it allows an overall improvement of the offer and thus reaches all consumers.

The energy rating of household appliances has thus profoundly transformed the offer (try to find a fridge rated E, or even D or C!). And the democratization of Nutri-Score has also encouraged many manufacturers to improve the nutritional quality of their products to obtain a better rating (to the point that some French manufacturers even brag about it on bus stops, such as Brossard for its Savane cake).

To encourage product improvements, our platform for producers automatically analyzes data provided by manufacturers to identify avenues for improvement. The platform thus identifies all the products that would obtain a better Nutri-Score score with a slight change in composition (a reduction in salt of 5% for example).

Soon, the platform will make it possible to suggest ways to reduce the ecological impact and obtain a better Eco-Score (for example by using a more recyclable plastic for packaging, or by replacing palm oil with another oil).



How can we find out more and how can we help us develop the Eco-Score?

Everyone is welcome to help us create more transparency, educate consumers, and encourage product improvement through Eco-Score.

The Eco-Score is still young and can certainly be improved. Given the climate and environmental emergency, however, it seems important to us to make it available now.

By working together, we will be able to gradually improve the Eco-Score, refine its formula, and gather the data necessary for its computation.

Your feedback, observations and suggestions will therefore be very valuable.

Open Food Facts is a collaborative project supported by tens of thousands of volunteers and managed by a non-profit association with 3 employees.
You can help us at fund Open Food Facts 2021 budget and continue to develop the Eco-Score and many other projects to improve everyone's diet. Thank you! ❤️

Make a donation


Acknowledgments

Thanks to the teams of ADEME, l'INRAE and all Agribalyse partners for the constitution of this unique environmental database and its publication in open data.

Thank you to all those involved in creating a common Eco-Score.

Thanks to the organizers and volunteers of Data For Good who greatly improved the artificial intelligence algorithms of Open Food Facts.

Thanks to the AFNIC Foundation for its support for the implementation of the ecoscore in Open Food Facts.

Thanks to Santé publique France (Public Health France) for its crucial support for the development of the platform for producers.

And thank you to all the participants in the Open Food Facts project who for more than 8 years have been promoting food transparency to improve everyone's diet!



References