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10.10.2012

Information about the Keyhole in English

The Norwegian Directorate of Health and the Norwegian Food Safety Authority's Keyhole symbol is there to help consumers identify the healthier options when buying food.

En dame og en jente sjekker nøkkelhullsmerket på matvarer

  • En dame og en jente sjekker nøkkelhullsmerket på matvarer

The Keyhole is a food label that identifies healthier food products within a product group. Choosing foods with the Keyhole symbol makes it easier and less time consuming to find healthier products in food stores.  The Keyhole system shall stimulate manufactures to product reformulation and development of healthier products.

The Keyhole was established in Sweden in 1989 and has now become a common Nordic label for healthier food products in Denmark, Norway, Iceland and Sweden. In Norway, the system is a cooperation of the Norwegian Directorate of Health and Norwegian Food Safety Authority.

Less fat, sugars and salt and more dietary fibre

The Keyhole (Nøkkelhullet) is a voluntary Nordic label for food. Compared to other foods of the same type, products with the Keyhole comply with one or more of these requirements:

  • more fibre and wholegrain
  • less saturated fat
  • less salt
  • less sugar

Keyhole symbol on food products

There are a total of 33 food product groups which can use the Keyhole. Within each product group, different criteria are considered (fibre, fat, sugar and salt).

For example, a Keyhole-labelled breakfast cereal will contain more fibre and less sugar than a breakfast cereal without the symbol. In meat products, the proportion of fats and salt is considered most important, while a Keyhole-labelled bread on the other hand must meet the criteria for fibre, fat, sugar and salt. 

In certain food groups there are also requirements for the content of vegetables, fruit, berries and whole grain. In certain product groups, such as soda, candy and chocolate, cakes and biscuits, no products can be labelled with the Keyhole symbol.

Keyhole for variaton and balance

The Directorate of Health's dietary advice recommends a varied diet with plenty of

  • vegetables
  • fruit and berries
  • whole grains
  • fish

and limited amounts of

  • processed meat
  • red meat
  • salt
  • sugar

Energy balance is also important.

There are many ways in which you can put together a healthy and varied diet. How you choose to do it is up to you, but the Keyhole may help you make the right choices when doing your grocery shopping.

Where to find the Keyhole symbol?

The Keyhole is found on the packaging of the food products. You will also find the label on bread, meat and cheese which is not pre-packaged. All fresh fish, fruit, berries, vegetables and potatoes are natural Keyhole products, even though they are not labelled.

All grocery stores in Norway sell products with the Keyhole. The Keyhole is also found on some food products at venues such as kiosks and petrol stations.

Why choose foods with the Keyhole symbol?

The lifestyle we choose affects our health. By eating healthier foods and taking more exercise we can reduce our risk of developing obesity, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure, certain forms of cancer and osteoporosis. Eating a healthy diet also reduces the risks of dental caries and constipation.

Who can eat foods with the Keyhole symbol?

Foods labelled with the Keyhole symbol are suitable for all healthy individuals - adults, teenagers and children. Products intended for children up to the age of three years must not be labelled with the Keyhole. Foods carrying the Keyhole symbol are not "diet foods" but are intended for everyone who wants to eat a healthy diet.