In Finland, more than 2 million meals are daily eaten outside home. Thus the nutritional quality of those meals is of great importance to public health.
Restaurants and caterers which want to join the system, apply for the right to use the system from Finnish Heart Association.
In order to get the right to use Heart Symbol, a restaurant must fulfill all criteria in at least one meal that includes main course and side dishes. The criteria is based on Finnish national nutritional recommendations (by National Nutrition Counsil).
Meal with Heart Symbol includes:
- Main course
- Other meal components
1. Criteria for main course
|Type of main course||Nutrition content/ 100 g, maximum|
|Saturated fat, |
|Salt (NaCl), |
|Soups||3 (5)||1 (1,5)||0,5-0,7||Convenience food with Heart Symbol|
|Porridges (a||3||1||0,5||Convenience food with Heart Symbol|
|Casseroles, risotto, lasagne, salads with chicken, fish etc. (b, pizza, pie||5 (7)||2 (2)||0,6-0,75||Convenience food with Heart Symbol|
|Sauces with meat, fish or vegetables||9 (11)||3,5 (3,5)||0,9||Convenience food with Heart Symbol|
|Steaks, cutlets, meatloafs, rolls etc. with or without sauce||8 (12 c)||3 (3,5)||0,9||Convenience food with Heart Symbol|
a) The grain used must have at least 6% dietary fibre.
b) There has to be at least 150g vegetables/portion in salads. All other vegetables except for potato is taken into account.
c) There can be more fat if fish is the only source of fat
Numbers in quantity are used in fish dishes
2. Side dishes for main courses
|Side dish||Nutrition content/ 100 g|
|fat, g||saturated fat, g||Salt (NaCl), g||Dietary fibre |
|ricemixes, barley, couscous etc.||-||0,7||0,3||minimum 6|
|wholegrain rice||-||0,7||0,3||minimum 3|
|cooked potato||no added fat||-||no added salt||-|
|other kind of potato side dishes (such as mashed potato, baked potato)||-||0,7||0,3-0,5||-|
3. Other side dishes
|Side dish||Nutrition content/ 100 g, maximum|
|fat, g||hard fat (satureted + transfat)||salt (NaCl), g||dietary fibre, g||Alternative product|
|bread||soft bread maximum 0,7;|
dried bread maximum 1,2
|minimum 6||product with Heart Symbol|
|spreads||preferably minimum 60 (g||maximum 30 % of fat||maximum 1||product with Heart Symbol|
|milk or buttermilk||maximum 0,5||product with Heart Symbol|
|Vegetables(i: - Fresh salad||in marinade maximum 20% of fat can be hard fat||no added salt||product with Heart Symbol|
|- Cooked vegetables||in marinade maximum 20% of fat can be hard fat||0,3||product with Heart Symbol|
|Salad dressing||preferably 15 or more(j||maximum 20 % of fat||maximum 1||product or vegetable oil with Heart Symbol|
g and j) to ensure that meal contains enough unsaturated fat.
i) fruits or berries can complement the supply of vegetables
In addition to criteria, restaurant must give customer information: healthier main dishes and meal components are marked with symbol on buffet.