You may notice a number of little logos on many of the products in your shopping basket when shopping in Denmark. To help consumers make educated choices about the health and environmental impacts and benefits of products available, various government and non government agencies Scandinavia have developed a number of symbols to make this easier. But it is only helpful if you know what they mean.
I thought I would pull together a short guide to the ones you will see the most.
Krav – This is a Swedish logo but appears on many Danish foods. It indicates a product that has met specific organic standards and the product has been made in an environmentally friendly and ethical manner.
Svanen mark – the swan mark (and it associated flower mark) has been around in Denmark since 1989 and is the official environmental logo. The goal is to reduce consumption and overall environmental impact of products. The gain this mark producers must adhere to strict environmental requirements in the whole production cycle, strict controls on the use of chemicals for the benefit of the environment and health. There are strict controls and inspections to ensure this.
Astma – Allergi Den Blå Krans – this is a label that appears on products that come into direct contact with skin. These products have been assessed by experienced toxicologists to ensure low risks of allergies and skin irritations.
EU Økologisk logo – this is a Europewide logo that ensures organic certification.
Ø mærket – guess what? Another organic mark but this time specific to Danish products (or some from outside Denmark that have been assessed under Danish control). It shows that products have been prepared under organic controls.
Vælg fuldkorn først – this concerns only food stuffs and enables consumers to easily select products that contain a high percentage of wholegrains. Health advice in Denmark is that one should consume 75g of whole grain a day and this logo intends to make it easier to chose these kind of products.
Nøglehullet – Finally the keyhole symbol. This is the one that you may notice the most. The Danish authorities are keen to help the population make healthy food choices and to make those easily without having to scrutinise labels and ingredients. Products that carry this mark contain less fat, sugar, salt and more dietary fibre than products of the same type without the logo. I assume you can conclude that foods without the logo are best avoided if you want to make healthy choices.
This logo is extensive and covers 25 categories with in the following 9 food groups so it seems they are taking this pretty seriously.
- Dairy products
- Low fat spread, margarine and oils
- Meat and processed meat products
- Fish and shellfish
- Vegetarian products
- Bread, pasta, breakfast cereals, flour and whole meal
- Ready meals, pies, pizza, soups, sandwiches and wraps
- Potatoes and vegetables
- Fruits and berries
I may have missed some of the other logos you may spot but I think this covers the main ones.