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Nutrient Profiling Is Needed to Improve the Nutritional Quality of the Foods Labelled with Health-Related Claims

Pivk Kupirovič, Urška, Miklavec, Krista, Hribar, Maša, Kušar, Anita, Žmitek, Katja, Pravst, Igor
Nutrients 2019 v.11 no.2
European Union, World Health Organization, food availability, food choices, foods, health claims, markets, nutrient content, nutritive value, sales, Australia, Europe, New Zealand
Health-related claims on food products influence consumers and their food preferences. None of the European countries have restricted the use of health claims to foods of high nutritional quality despite the regulatory background provided by the European Union in 2006. We evaluated the nutritional quality of foods labelled with claims available in the Slovenian market using two nutrient profile models—Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) and European World Health Organization Regional office for Europe model (WHOE)—and compared the results to the nutritional quality of all available foods. Data for prepacked foods in the Slovenian food supply were collected in 2015 on a representative sample (n = 6619) and supplemented with 12-month product sales data for more accurate assessments of the food supply. A considerable proportion of foods labelled with any type of health-related claim was found to have poor nutritional quality. About 68% of the foods labelled with health-related claims passed FSANZ criterion (75% when considering sales data) and 33% passed the WHOE model (56% when considering sales data). Our results highlight the need for stricter regulations for the use of health-related claims and to build upon available nutrient profiling knowledge to improve nutrition quality of foods labeled with health-related claims.