The nutritional quality of foods carrying health-related claims in Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, Slovenia and the United Kingdom.
Kaur A., Scarborough P., Hieke S., Kusar A., Pravst I., Raats M., Rayner M.
Backgroung/Objectives:Compares the nutritional quality of pre-packaged foods carrying health-related claims with foods that do not carry health-related claims. SUBJECT/METHODS: Cross-sectional survey of pre-packaged foods available in Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, Slovenia and the United Kingdom in 2013. A total of 2034 foods were randomly sampled from three food store types (a supermarket, a neighbourhood store and a discounter). Nutritional information was taken from nutrient declarations present on food labels and assessed through a comparison of mean levels, regression analyses and the application of a nutrient profile model currently used to regulate health claims in Australia and New Zealand (Food Standards Australia New Zealand's Nutrient Profiling Scoring Criterion, FSANZ NPSC). RESULTS: Foods carrying health claims had, on average, lower levels, per 100 g, of the following nutrients, energy-29.3 kcal (P<0.05), protein-1.2 g (P<0.01), total sugars-3.1 g (P<0.05), saturated fat-2.4 g (P<0.001), and sodium-842 mg (P<0.001), and higher levels of fibre-0.8 g (P<0.001). A similar pattern was observed for foods carrying nutrition claims. Forty-three percent (confidence interval (CI) 41%, 45%) of foods passed the FSANZ NPSC, with foods carrying health claims more likely to pass (70%, CI 64%, 76%) than foods carrying nutrition claims (61%, CI 57%, 66%) or foods that did not carry either type of claim (36%, CI 34%, 38%). CONCLUSIONS: Foods carrying health-related claims have marginally better nutrition profiles than those that do not carry claims; these differences would be increased if the FSANZ NPSC was used to regulate health-related claims. It is unclear whether these relatively small differences have significant impacts on health.