In order to stimulate healthy food production, Choices criteria determine the recommended levels of salt, saturated and trans fatty acids and/or added sugars set in the product group specific criteria. Furthermore, depending on the food category, products must contain a minimum amount of dietary fibre. In order to carry the Choices logo, products cannot exceed these given levels. No other demands or criteria are given, except of course from the fact that the product has to comply to all relevant national regulations.
All food products and beverages – with the exception of alcoholic beverages, infant food (<1 year-old), supplements and food products prescribed under medical supervision – can carry the Choices logo if they comply with the product criteria.
These independent product criteria were developed and are periodically evaluated by the Choices International Scientific Committee. National criteria adaptations can be made by the National Scientific Committees, under supervision of the International Scientific Committee.
For participating companies the Choices criteria drive healthy innovation and reformulation activities. When a product is developed or reformulated to meet the Choices criteria, the logo can be used on packaging, in advertising and in marketing materials. This encourages consumers to select the product while setting new standards for food composition. In this way innovation can result in win-win situation for both consumers and food companies. The Choices criteria can also be used by participating companies for reformulation without logo-use.
The Choices Programme is a global initiative, open to any manufacturing, retail or catering company.
How to participate in the Choices Programme
As the implementation of the Choices Programme is regulated at national level, companies interested in joining the Choices Programme are invited to become a member in every country. Once participants have signed a national agreement, their products are evaluated by an independent clearance agency to determine whether they comply with the national product criteria. This is essential for maintaining the transparency and credibility of the initiative. Participating companies can use the criteria to evaluate their products, with or without use of the Choices logo.
Five steps to join the logo programme
Although the exact procedure may differ slightly per country, the following five steps are usually sufficient to ensure a company's participation in the Choices Programme:
- Contact the national Choices foundation to receive a standard information package.
- Apply for official participation .
- Submit the products to which the logo should be applied in the online compliance tool made available at registration, in order to see if they comply with the criteria and to be checked by the independent clearance agency.
- Put the Choices logo in the front of the pack of all approved products.
- Introduce the products with the logo onto the market.