Europe is the region of cuisine diversity. Most consumers know products characteristic for its certain regions: olives from Greece, Italian cold cuts, Mediterranean olive oil, French cheeses, cuisine diversity of Spain and Portugal, German Currywurst or salmon from the North, also our Polish oscypek smoked cheese, apple, carrot and tomato juices, smoked meat, cold cuts and dairy.
The aforesaid products are different in almost all contexts like taste, smell, consistency, way of serving and methods of eating, however they do have one thing in common: these are meals with simple ingredients, produced in a traditional way for many years by subsequent generations of farmers and manufacturers who can be proud of perfect ingredients and taking care of all stages of production. Many things can be said about them, but it is difficult to ignore their efforts in order to stick up to tradition, continuous development and pursue the best possible care regarding consumers’ needs.
Europe is facing various lifestyle diseases, including the epidemic of obesity, especially among young people, who spend less and less time outdoor and eat gradually increasing amounts of unhealthy snacks, in complete contrary to the guidelines of dieticians, especially national institutions taking care of public health. According to their recommendations, a correct diet is based on products prepared by farmers and growers, characterized by high nutrient density, such as vegetables, fruit and their processed products, for example fruit, crop products and dairy products.
In certain European countries various actions are undertaken in order to fight with overweight problems among citizens. One of such ideas is to develop product labels suggesting which products should be eaten more often and which one should be avoided. The examples of these labels are the “traffic lights” used by the United Kingdom, the “key hole” system used in Scandinavian countries, the “charged battery” system in Italy or the Nutri-Score system developed by some French institute, which is gradually gaining popularity.
Also, the institutions of the European Union are working towards implementation of the joint nutritional value labeling system on the front of pack. One of the solutions discussed is implementation of the Nutri-Score system which is currently used in several EU countries. We should pay attention to the fact that attempts to implement it officially are very often accompanied by objections from agricultural producers and processors, because its assumptions mostly depreciate natural, ecological, regional or traditional products, as well as these which are based on single ingredients have labels with short lists of ingredients and those which content must not be changed in view of valid regulations.
The Nutri-Score system is contradicted by multiple nutrition specialists and is against the current EU policy focused on drawing customers back to healthy diet based on traditional, basic products coming from local crops or farming. Also, traditional products entirely based on raw materials guarantee high quality and diversity of EU production, with purpose to maintain cultural and cuisine heritage in EU countries, as it could become inevitably lost, if Nutri-Score is implemented.