Ongoing debate over front-of-pack nutrition labelling system in India

08 January, 2024

The proposed star rating system for Front of Pack Nutritional Labelling (FoPNL) in India is currently uncertain, with alternative proposals emerging. Amid ongoing discussions and the presence of a Draft regulation, food businesses must stay informed, though the implementation date remains unknown.


In February of 2022, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) held a meeting to discuss the most suitable FoPNL system for the Indian market. The consensus reached was in favour of adopting the Health Star Rating (HSR) from Australia, renamed as the Indian Nutrition Rating (INR).

Subsquent to this decision, the FSSAI created a Draft to the Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2020, introducing the INR. The Draft proposes a logo in red and white, from ½ star to 5 stars, with 5 stars being an indication of the healthiest food.

However, a recent survey conducted by academics from several institutions, including the WHO’s Indian arm, has introduced a new perspective. Utilizing five different FoPNLs, including the widely used HSR, the study has raised doubts about the HSR label’s effectiveness in aiding consumers’ informed decision-making, citing its lack of colour. Instead, the study emphasized the efficacy of a 2-colour Multi Traffic Light label (MTL) using red and green.

Synonymously, critics have argued that an ‘educational component’ needs to be added to the INR, and that the ‘system needs to be further tailored to meet the unique requirements of Indian consumers and the variety of food offered in the Indian market’ (1) . This is similar to Italy’s opposition to the Nutri-score system, which the country argues is unfavourable towards traditional Italian delicacies (2).

Several other studies have been conducted across different countries, including India, to assess various FoPNLs, including variations of the HSR. Perhaps, these studies and critics' opinions will assist the Indian Government in determining the best FoPNL that supports Indian consumers in making healthier choices.

Timelines for introducing the new FoPNL are currently unknown; with food business operators needing to remain vigilant amid the ongoing discussions. Leatherhead Food Research members will receive updates on the evolving regulation via Global Legal Highlights.

How Leatherhead can help

Leatherhead is well-positioned to evaluate your front-of-pack labelling for compliance with existing regulations and will continue to track changes in FoPNL regulations in India for future implementation. Learn more about our global regulatory compliance services here. Get in touch at [email protected] for support. 


(1) What is front-of-pack labelling? Is the current model misleading? (

(2) Italy digs in on opposing Nutriscore -

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