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Open AccessArticle

Nutritional Content According to the Presence of Front of Package Marketing Strategies: The Case of Ultra-Processed Snack Food Products Purchased in Costa Rica

1
School of Public Health, Universidad de Costa Rica, Montes de Oca, San Jose 11501, Costa Rica
2
Costa Rican Institute of Research and Teaching in Nutrition and Health (INCIENSA), Curridabat, Cartago 4-2250, Costa Rica
3
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Population Health, University of Auckland, Auckland 1010, New Zealand
4
INCAP Research Center for the Prevention of Chronic Diseases, Institute of Nutrition of Central America and Panama (INCAP), Guatemala City 1188, Guatemala
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2019, 11(11), 2738; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11112738
Received: 11 September 2019 / Revised: 15 October 2019 / Accepted: 22 October 2019 / Published: 12 November 2019
The industry uses nutrition and health claims, premium offers, and promotional characters as marketing strategies (MS). The inclusion of these MS on ultra-processed products may influence child and adolescent purchase behavior. This study determined the proportion of foods carrying claims and marketing strategies, also the proportion of products with critical nutrients declaration, and nutritional profile differences between products that carry or not claims and MS on the front-of-package (FoP) of ultra-processed food products sold in Costa Rica. Data were obtained from 2423 photographs of seven food groups consumed as snacks that were sold in one of the most widespread and popular hypermarket chains in Costa Rica in 2015. Ten percent of products lacked a nutrition facts panel. Sodium was the least reported critical nutrient. Energy and critical nutrients were significantly highest in products that did not include any nutrition or health claim and in products that included at least one MS. Forty-four percent and 10% of all products displayed at least one nutrition or at least one health claim, respectively, and 23% displayed at least one MS. In conclusion, regulations are needed to restrict claims and marketing on ultra-processed food packages to generate healthier food environments and contribute to the prevention of childhood and adolescent obesity in Costa Rica. View Full-Text
Keywords: food labeling; health claims; ultra-processed foods; obesity; children; food environment; Costa Rica food labeling; health claims; ultra-processed foods; obesity; children; food environment; Costa Rica
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Gamboa-Gamboa, T.; Blanco-Metzler, A.; Vandevijvere, S.; Ramirez-Zea, M.; Kroker-Lobos, M.F. Nutritional Content According to the Presence of Front of Package Marketing Strategies: The Case of Ultra-Processed Snack Food Products Purchased in Costa Rica. Nutrients 2019, 11, 2738.

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