Most nutrient profiling models give equal weight to nutrients irrespective of their ubiquity in the food system. There is also a degree of arbitrariness about which nutrients are included. In this study, an alternative Nutrient Rich Food index was developed (NRF-ai, where ai denotes adequate intake) incorporating prevalence of inadequate and excessive nutrient intake among Australian adults. Weighting factors for individual nutrients were based on a distance-to-target method using data from the Australian Health Survey describing the proportion of the population with usual intake less than the Estimated Average Requirement defined by the Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand. All nutrients for which data were available were included, avoiding judgements about which nutrients to include, although some nutrients received little weight. Separate models were developed for females and males and for selected age groups, reflecting differences in nutrient requirements and usual intake. Application of the new nutrient profiling models is demonstrated for selected dairy products and alternatives, protein-rich foods, and discretionary foods. This approach emphasises the need to identify foods that are rich in those specific nutrients for which intake is below recommended levels and can be used to address specific nutrient gaps in subgroups such as older adults. In addition, the new nutrient profiling model is used to explore other sustainability aspects, including affordability (NRF-ai per AUD) and ecoefficiency (NRF-ai/environmental impact score).
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited