Nutri-Grade in China: Shanghai launches traffic light labelling pilot for sugar-sweetened beverages

The pilot was announced by the Shanghai Municipal Center for Disease Control and Prevention (SCDC) to cover both prepackaged RTD beverages for retail as well as freshly-prepared beverages such as those sold in tea shops and cafes.

The traffic light labelling scheme is similar to those used in other markets such as Singapore (Nutri-Grade) and the United Kingdom (Nutri-Score), and is quite similarly termed as 营养选择 which translates roughly to ‘Nutritional Choice’.

Similar to these other schemes, it utilises a green-to-red colour scheme and the letters A to D to designate the nutritional value of beverages, so the most highly-recommended items would have a dark green ‘A’ label, and the least-recommended ones would have a red ‘D’ label.

“This scheme categorises beverages based on both domestic and international standards, considering the nutritional value of the ingredients as well as the local population consumption,”​ SCDC said via a formal statement.


“The designations are based mainly on three factors: Non-dairy sugar content, saturated fat content and trans-fat content.

“To get the Grade A designation, beverages must also not use any form of non-sugar sweeteners in addition to fulfilling the criteria for these three factors.”

As such, to obtain an Grade A label, the beverage in question must have not more than 0.5g/100ml of non-dairy sugars, not more than 0.75g/100ml of saturated fats, not more than 0.3g/100ml of trans-fats and also not contain any sweeteners e.g. aspartame, erythritol, isomalt and so on.