The criteria for the symbol are based on the Finnish nutrition recommendations. In all, the criteria are defined for nine main food groups that may further be divided into subgroups.

The Heart Symbol tells the consumer at a glance that the product marked with this symbol is a better choice in its product group regarding fat (quantity and quality) and sodium. In some product groups, also sugar and fibre contents are taken into account.

The criteria are regularly updated, if needed, by the Heart Symbol expert group, which includes seven professionals in nutrition and medicine appointed by the organisations in charge, i.e. FHA and FDA.