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Using nutrient profiling to prevent misleading food marketing

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 January 2015

Miguel Ángel Royo-Bordonada*
National School of Public HealthSinesio Delgado St 828029 Madrid, Spain Email:
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Letter to the Editor
Copyright © The Authors 2015 


Lyndal Wellard et al. remind us that marketing products with fruit and vegetable claims is inaccurate and potentially misleading if they do not meet nutrient profiling criteria( Reference Wellard, Hughes and Tsang 1 ). In a sample of products advertised on television in Spain, in 2008, we found that 52 % and 57 % of foods and beverages carrying nutrient and health claims, respectively, were for less healthy products, according to the UK Nutrient Profile Model( Reference Cuevas-Casado and Royo-Bordonada 2 ). To prevent the confusion this phenomenon may create among consumers, European legislation stated that, by 2009, the Commission shall establish specific criteria that shall be respected for the use of nutrition and health claims on foods( 3 ). However, the 2011 European legislation on food labelling not only did not address any such criteria, but also failed to introduce front-of-pack traffic light food labels, favouring vested interests of the food industry, which spent 1 billion Euros in a lobby campaign opposing such a labelling scheme( 4 ). Today, we are still waiting for nutrient profiling regulation. If we are to allow consumers make informed food choices, front-of-pack labels have to be introduced and standard criteria for communicating nutrient profiles should be required for products containing nutrient or health claims.


1. Wellard, L, Hughes, C, Tsang, YW et al. (2014) Investigating fruit and vegetable claims on Australian food packages. Public Health Nutr (Epublication ahead of print version).Google Scholar
2. Cuevas-Casado, Romero-Fernández MM & Royo-Bordonada, (2012) Use of nutrition marketing in products advertised on TV in Spain. Nutr Hosp 27, 15691575.Google Scholar
3. European Parliament & Council of the European Union (2006) Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods. Official Journal of the European Union L404, 925.Google Scholar
4. Corporate Europe Observatory (2010) A red light for consumer information. (accessed August 2014).Google Scholar