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J Nutr Educ Behav. 2010 Mar-Apr;42(2):92-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2008.11.002. Epub 2010 Jan 21.

Nutrition marketing on food labels.

Author information

1
United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center, Grand Forks, ND, USA. colbys@ecu.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

This research sought to determine how often nutrition marketing is used on labels of foods that are high in saturated fat, sodium, and/or sugar.

DESIGN AND SETTING:

All items packaged with food labels (N = 56,900) in all 6 grocery stores in Grand Forks, ND were surveyed.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S):

Marketing strategy, nutrient label information, if the product was fruit/or milk based, and target age.

ANALYSIS:

Frequency distributions were computed.

RESULTS:

Forty-nine percent of all products contained nutrition marketing and of those, 48% had both nutrition marketing and were high in saturated fat, sodium and/or sugar (11%, 17%, and 31% respectively). Seventy-one percent of products marketed to children had nutrition marketing. Of those, 59% were high in saturated fat, sodium and/or sugar content, with more than half being high in sugar. The most commonly used nutrition marketing statements were "good source of calcium", "reduced/low/fat free", and "food company's health symbol".

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS:

Nutrition marketing is commonly used on products high in saturated fat, sodium and/or sugar and is more often used on products marketed toward children than products marketed toward adults. Current food industry symbols may not be helping consumers select foods low in saturated fat, sodium or sugar.

PMID:
20096635
DOI:
10.1016/j.jneb.2008.11.002
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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