4 years ago

No Fat, No Sugar, No Salt . . . No Problem? Prevalence of “Low-Content” Nutrient Claims and Their Associations with the Nutritional Profile of Food and Beverage Purchases in the United States

Nutrient claims are a commonly used marketing tactic, but the association between claims and nutritional quality of products is unknown. The objective of this study was to examine trends in the proportion of packaged food and beverage purchases with a nutrient claim, whether claims are associated with improved nutritional profile, and whether the proportion of purchases with claims differs by race/ethnicity or socioeconomic status. Methods This cross-sectional study examined nutrient claims on more than 80 million food and beverage purchases from a transaction-level database of 40,000 US households from 2008 to 2012. χ2 Tests were used to examine whether the proportion of purchases with a low/no-content claim changed over time or differed by race/ethnicity or household socioeconomic status. Pooled transactions were examined using t-tests to compare products’ nutritional profiles overall and by food and beverage group. Results Thirteen percent of food and 35% of beverage purchases had a low-content claim. Prevalence of claims among purchases did not change over time. Low-fat claims were most prevalent for both foods and beverages (10% and 19%, respectively), followed by low-calorie (3% and 9%), low-sugar (2% and 8%), and low-sodium (2% for both) claims. Compared to purchases with no claim, purchases with any low-content claim had lower mean energy, total sugar, total fat, and sodium densities. However, the association between particular claim types and specific nutrient densities varied substantially, and purchases featuring a given low-content claim did not necessarily offer better overall nutritional profiles or better profiles for the claimed nutrient, relative to products without claims. In addition, there was substantial heterogeneity in associations between claims and nutrient densities within food and beverage groups. Conclusions Variations in nutrient density by claim type and food and beverage group suggests that claims may have differential utility for certain foods or nutrients and, in some cases, may mislead about the overall nutritional quality of the food.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S2212267217300722

You might also like
Discover & Discuss Important Research

Keeping up-to-date with research can feel impossible, with papers being published faster than you'll ever be able to read them. That's where Researcher comes in: we're simplifying discovery and making important discussions happen. With over 19,000 sources, including peer-reviewed journals, preprints, blogs, universities, podcasts and Live events across 10 research areas, you'll never miss what's important to you. It's like social media, but better. Oh, and we should mention - it's free.

  • Download from Google Play
  • Download from App Store
  • Download from AppInChina

Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.