Applications of nutrient profiling: potential role in diet-related chronic disease prevention and the feasibility of a core nutrient-profiling system.
Sacks G., Rayner M., Stockley L., Scarborough P., Snowdon W., Swinburn B.
BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: A number of different nutrient-profiling models have been proposed and several applications of nutrient profiling have been identified. This paper outlines the potential role of nutrient-profiling applications in the prevention of diet-related chronic disease (DRCD), and considers the feasibility of a core nutrient-profiling system, which could be modified for purpose, to underpin the multiple potential applications in a particular country. METHODS: The 'Four 'P's of Marketing' (Product, Promotion, Place and Price) are used as a framework for identifying and for classifying potential applications of nutrient profiling. A logic pathway is then presented that can be used to gauge the potential impact of nutrient-profiling interventions on changes in behaviour, changes in diet and, ultimately, changes in DRCD outcomes. The feasibility of a core nutrient-profiling system is assessed by examining the implications of different model design decisions and their suitability to different purposes. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: There is substantial scope to use nutrient profiling as part of the policies for the prevention of DRCD. A core nutrient-profiling system underpinning the various applications is likely to reduce discrepancies and minimise the confusion for regulators, manufacturers and consumers. It seems feasible that common elements, such as a standard scoring method, a core set of nutrients and food components, and defined food categories, could be incorporated as part of a core system, with additional application-specific criteria applying. However, in developing and in implementing such a system, several country-specific contextual and technical factors would need to be balanced.