Group 1 - Unprocessed or minimally processed foods
Group 2 - Processed culinary ingredients
Group 3 - Processed foods
Group 4 - Ultra-processed food and drink products
When we introduced NOVA 3 years ago, I created icons with a style similar to the Nutri-Score logo:
But the icons have issues:
NOVA has to be explained, it’s not obvious from the icon what “NOVA 3” is
even though the groups are numbered, it’s not really a scale. e.g. NOVA 2 is things like sugar, salt, spices: it’s not something that is worse than NOVA 1.
with 2 scales A/B/C/D/E for Nutri-Score and 1/2/3/4 for NOVA ,it’s hard to know how to compare a Nutri-Score C / NOVA 4 product with a Nutri-Score D / NOVA 3 product. And with Eco-Score it’s getting worse.
the most important distinction is between NOVA 3 and NOVA 4.
So it could be a good thing to change how we display the NOVA groups. In fact we may decide to not put the name NOVA up front, and instead highlight “Unprocessed”, “Processed”, “Ultra-processed” which can be immediately understood.
Whenever we can, we display both an icon + a corresponding text. So we could for instance have a red factory icon for ultra-processed + the text “Ultra-processed foods” as a description, for instance in Knowledge Panels and Attributes.
Here is what we display today:
If we do replace the NOVA icons by something else, what could it be?
If we can, we should avoid having text in the icon itself (Nova or Nutri-Score is fine, but if the text has to be translated, that would mean we would need different icons by language)
In some settings, the icon will be displayed without an additional text (e.g. small icons in lists of products, in the app and on the website).
Ideally it should be obvious that the 4 icons refer to the same thing (e.g. if we use one icon with different colours, it’s obvious, but if we use a factory for NOVA 4 and a carrot for NOVA 1, then it’s less obvious)
I have the vague idea of an icon with one always remaining icon + an additional icon which correspond to the level and still using color scheme (see below). A very rough draft to make the idea understandable : Figma (here processing is the toque, and we have different symbols). Icons are from noun project.
Also the color scheme could be reviewed to have a really strong demarcation for nova 4.
This completely avoid words, but maybe still hard to understand without an explanation (it maybe a progress though if we found good symbols).
I find it rather clear, with both the color and the picture to symbolize the degree of processing. There still could be a misunderstanding with the plant icon for the first degree, some people could interpret it as the vegetables category.
Yes it’s interesting but it has the drawback of inducing that everything is manufactured, while as you told it’s really nova 4 which is problematic. Maybe going in a less “traffic” light design as I proposed may help ?
The gradation of NOVA is misleading, in the sense that 1 - 2 - 3 are ok for health, while 4 is not ok (and we could imagine different shades of 4 according to additives !). So with a logo in green / yellow / orange / red + a logo where there is a linearity (1 bar / 2 bar / 3 bar / 4 bar) we really loose this information that 1 - 2 - 3 are ok (or quite ok) but 4 is not !
That was also the sense of using different colors on my proposal (green green green RED), and not using factory for 1 - 2 - 3
I rather agree with @charlesnepote about the fact that the more there is green, the more the product is “ok”, but I also agree with @alex (no, I’m not Swiss^^) about the different shades of green for the 3 first levels and a red one for the 4th.