The Choices Programme

The Choices Programme is a unique multi-stakeholder initiative designed to help consumers to easily select healthy food options and to help the industry to improve their products. It was introduced in The Netherlands in 2006 as a response to the World Health Organization’s call for the food industry to take an active role in helping to tackle the growing problem of obesity and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) around the world. In the last 5 years Choices works more and more in Asia and Africa and broadened the scope of the programme to include undernourishment and stunting on a national level.

The programme and the Choices way of working are based on 10 basic principles that describe the Choices identity. You can download the complete description here. In short:

  1. Healthy food choices

6. Positive approach

  1. Science-based

7.  Simplicity

  1. Collaboration

8.  Consumer communication

  1. National adaption

9.  Voluntary

  1. Stimulation of reformulation

10. International coherence

To identify the healthiest option in each food category, the programme consists of a nutrient profile model with product group-specific criteria. They take into account a product’s level of saturated and trans fatty acids, added sugar, salt and dietary fibre. The criteria - based on international dietary guidelines - are established and periodically reviewed by the independent International Scientific Committee.

The Choices Programme focuses on three points of action to promote healthy choices:

  1. Implement front-of-pack labelling: facilitate the use of the Choices logo or comparable positive front-of-pack labels to help consumers identify the healthy choice at a glance.
  2. Stimulate (re)formulation of products and portfolios: improvements by individual companies with or without logo use.
  3. Contribute to consumer education about how to constitute a healthy diet, in collaboration with national nutrition education bodies

Choices International Foundation facilitates national implementation of healthy choice initiatives by offering several implementation tools accompanied by extensive consultation.

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