What is Evolved Nutrition Label (ENL)?
Nov 28, 2018

ENL label is a voluntary initiative that aims to provide simple, easy-to-understand and meaningful nutrition labelling information on foods and beverages. While it is built on the existing EU-wide Reference Intake scheme, ENL adds colors to the numbers that reflect the nutrient content per actual portion consumed. By referring to this colored label, it enables consumers to get accurate information about what is in the actual portion of what they are consuming.

Why it is important to have this Evolved Nutrition Label?

The proposed label will provide consumers with accurate information on what is in the actual portion of food they are consuming. Prominent on-pack nutrition labelling plays an important role in informing consumers on the levels of nutrients and the overall energy content of what they eat and drink, enabling them to make healthier choices and eat or drink mindfully.

Big players including The Coca-Cola Company, Mars, Mondelez International, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever has committed to continue taking meaningful actions, alongside other stakeholders in promoting healthier diets and balanced lifestyles to tackle issues related to obesity and other non-communicable diseases. All of the undersigned companies are committed to accelerate work in integrating both enhancements for color coding and supporting smaller portion sizes in the current Reference Intake (R.I.) scheme in Europe.

What is Reference Intake (RI)?

Reference Intake (RI) is a nutrition icon that can be found on the front of a product packaging. It displays the amount of calories, fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt present in each portion of product and the percentages of an average person’s daily dietary needs (Food Drink Europe, 2014).

The Reference Intakes for Energy and Selected Nutrients (Adults):-

Energy 8,400kj/2,000kcal
Fat 70g
Saturated Fat 20g
Sugars 90g
Salt 6g

The proposed labelling reference intake for energy (8400kJ or 2000 kcal) corresponds to the recommended energy intake for a moderately active woman.

Source: Food Drink Europe, 2014.


What do the colors mean in ENL?

What is the difference between these two lables?

Monochrome label
Evolved Nutrition Label

Source from: Evolved Nutrition Label Initiative, 2014.

How to interpret the Evolved Nutrition Label?

For example:

The food label above shows that each portion of 52g will provide you with 16.0g of fat and 4.0g of saturated fat which are 23% and 20% of reference intake for fat and saturated fat respectively.
The red colour shows that the food item is high in fat as well as saturated fat.

This food product consists of 0.5g of salt which is equivalents to 9% of reference intake for salt.
The amber color shows that the item contains a medium amount of salt.

Green color means a food is low in a particular nutrient/ingredient. For example, this product is low in sugar content which only consists of 1.0g with reference intake of 1%.

Source: Evolved Nutrition Label Initiative, 2017; Evolved Nutrition Label Initiative, 2014.

**According to the latest updates, the ENL companies acknowledge that the lack of EU-defined portion sizes has led to insufficient understanding and support of the proposed scheme. Along with this and the absence of legally defined portion sizes, the companies have decided to suspend ENL trails for food.

Kindly refer to this link for more information about nutrition labels.


Evolved Nutrition Label Initiative. (2017). Promoting Healthier Diets through an Evolved Colour-Coded Nutrition Labelling Scheme. Public Statement. Retrieved from https://evolvednutritionlabel.eu/public-statement/

Evolved Nutrition Label Initiative. (2014). ENL Presentation on front of pack labeling. EU Joint Meeting, Brussels.

Food Drink Europe. (2014). Reference Intakes. Retrieved from https://referenceintakes.eu/about.html