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Investigating fruit and vegetable claims on Australian food packages

  • Lyndal Wellard (a1), Clare Hughes (a1), Yee Wun Tsang (a2), Wendy Watson (a1) and Kathy Chapman (a1)...
Abstract
AbstractObjectives

Fruit and vegetable claims on food packages are not regulated under Australian food standards. The present study aimed to: (i) investigate the number and healthiness of products carrying fruit and vegetable claims in Australia; and (ii) compare the nutrition composition of these products with fresh fruit and/or vegetables.

Design

Content analysis of fruit and vegetable claims on food packages. The Australian food standards nutrient profiling model was used to determine the proportion of products not meeting nutrient profiling criteria. The nutrient composition of products carrying claims referencing the servings of fruit and vegetables in the product were compared with that of the dominant fruit and/or vegetables in each product.

Setting

The five largest supermarket chains in Australia.

Subjects

All available products in the fruit snacks, soups and fruit and vegetable juices/fruit drinks categories (n 762) were surveyed. Nutrition composition, ingredients and claims were recorded for each product.

Results

Of the products surveyed, 48 % (n 366) carried at least one claim, of which 34 % (n 124) did not meet nutrient profiling. Products carrying claims referencing the number of servings of fruit and vegetables had more energy, sodium, saturated fat and sugar, and less fibre, than fresh fruit and/or vegetables (all P<0·001).

Conclusions

Many products carried fruit and vegetable claims and were significantly higher in energy, saturated fat, sugars and sodium than fresh fruit and vegetables. Marketing these products as a way of meeting fruit and vegetable intake is inaccurate and potentially misleading. Fruit and vegetable claims should be regulated using nutrient profiling.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Email lyndalw@nswcc.org.au
Linked references
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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

8. JC Kozup , EH Creyer & S Burton (2003) Making healthful food choices: the influence of health claims and nutrition information on consumers’ evaluations of packaged food products and restaurant menu items. J Mark 67, 1934.

14. PG Williams (2005) Consumer understanding and use of health claims for foods. Nutr Rev 63, 256264.

15. C Ni Mhurchu & D Gorton (2007) Nutrition labels and claims in New Zealand and Australia: a review of use and understanding. Aust N Z J Public Health 31, 105112.

27. L Te Morenga , S Mallard & J Mann (2013) Dietary sugars and body weight: systematic review and meta-analyses of randomised controlled trials and cohort studies. BMJ 346, e7492.

31. JL Buttriss & B Benelam (2010) Nutrition and health claims: the role of food composition data. Eur J Clin Nutr 64, Suppl. 3, S8S13.

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Public Health Nutrition
  • ISSN: 1368-9800
  • EISSN: 1475-2727
  • URL: /core/journals/public-health-nutrition
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