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Open AccessArticle

Food Rating Scale in Food Services: From Development to Assessment of a Strategy for Consumer Healthier Choices

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Research Group in Nutritional and Nourishment Quality, Department of Nutrition, University of Brasilia, Brasilia, DF 70910-900, Brazil
2
Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Ceilandia, University of Brasilia, Brasilia, DF 70910-900, Brazil
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2018, 10(9), 1303; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10091303
Received: 15 August 2018 / Revised: 9 September 2018 / Accepted: 10 September 2018 / Published: 14 September 2018
This study aimed to create an easy tool to identify healthier choices for meal assembly in food services (self-service restaurants) and to allow consumers to compose their plates to make healthier choices. It is an interventional study, and the first step was setting healthy food parameters to design a rating scale. The first evaluation criterion was based on energy density (ED) and sodium content (SC) using “traffic light” color in the dishes’ nameplates; the second criterion was based on food groups; the third criterion was based on ingredients of the meals. After using the classification, we assessed the rating scale in a food service and we evaluated the strategy with its consumers. To evaluate the effect of the nutritional intervention, we developed a multiple-choice-questionnaire with eight questions to measure the impact on consumer food choices quantitatively. The dish nameplate allows identification of healthier choices regarding SC and/or ED by colors; ingredients that compose the dish; the food group and the serving size, helping the identification of the amount of food to compose the meal. Banners helped consumers to understand the information. After four weeks, all the consumers (n = 1000) received questionnaires regarding their comprehension of the classification. The questionnaire presented an ICC of 0.71. Most of the preparations (61%) were inadequate based on ED and/or SC at the studied food service. A total of 556 consumers returned questionnaires, and 86.3% of them observed the rating scale as a nutritional strategy. Almost 55% (n = 261) of consumers reported changes in food choice after reading the dishes nameplates. The items with greater impact on consumer change in eating behavior were the use of colors as an indicator of nutritional quality, portion size information and ingredients list. Almost 25% of the consumers that changed their eating behavior noticed more than three items presented on the nameplate. View Full-Text
Keywords: nutritional education; energy density; sodium; food choice; rating scale nutritional education; energy density; sodium; food choice; rating scale
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Mazocco, L.; Akutsu, R.D.C.C.A.; Botelho, R.B.A.; Da Silva, I.C.R.; Adjafre, R.; Zandonadi, R.P. Food Rating Scale in Food Services: From Development to Assessment of a Strategy for Consumer Healthier Choices. Nutrients 2018, 10, 1303.

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