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Open AccessArticle

Prevalence of Product Claims and Marketing Buzzwords Found on Health Food Snack Products Does Not Relate to Nutrient Profile

Nutrition & Dietetics Department, Charles Perkins Centre, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Maddison Breen and Hollie James should be considered joint first author.
Nutrients 2020, 12(5), 1513; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12051513
Received: 18 April 2020 / Revised: 19 May 2020 / Accepted: 20 May 2020 / Published: 22 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Labeling: Analysis, Understanding, and Perception)
Growth in the consumer health and wellness industry has led to an increase of packaged foods marketed as health food (HF) products. In consequence, a ‘health halo’ around packaged HF has arisen that influences consumers at point-of-purchase. This study compared product claims (nutrient content claims (NCC), health claims and marketing ‘buzzwords’) displayed on packaged HF snack products sold in HF stores and HF aisles in supermarkets to equivalent products sold in regular aisles (RA) of supermarkets. Product Health Star Rating (HSR), nutrient profile and price were also compared. Data were collected for 2361 products from three supermarket chains, two HF chains and one independent HF store in Sydney, Australia. Mann-Whitney U tests compared the product claims, HSR, nutrient composition and unit ($) price. HF snacks displayed significantly more product claims per product compared to RA foods (HSR ≤ 2.5), median (IQR) 5.0(4.0) versus 1.0(2) and (HSR > 2.5) 4.0(4.0) versus 3.0(4), respectively (p < 0.001). A significantly different HSR was evident between HF and RA snack products, median 2.5(0) versus 2.0(1.5), respectively (p < 0.001). HF snacks cost significantly more than RA snack foods, irrespective of product HSR (p < 0.001). These findings support the recommendation for revised labelling regulations and increased education regarding consumers food label interpretation. View Full-Text
Keywords: health food; nutrient content claims; health claims; food labelling; nutrient profile; health star rating health food; nutrient content claims; health claims; food labelling; nutrient profile; health star rating
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Breen, M.; James, H.; Rangan, A.; Gemming, L. Prevalence of Product Claims and Marketing Buzzwords Found on Health Food Snack Products Does Not Relate to Nutrient Profile. Nutrients 2020, 12, 1513.

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