Many food products analysed in the EU market may contribute to unhealthy diets

05 November 2019

A recent study of the European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC) reveals that many packaged food products frequently sold in the EU market contain very high levels of sugar, saturated fat, and salt, while levels of fibres are too low, which may contribute to poor diets that lead to obesity and other severe health issues, especially for children. Those food products should therefore be ineligible for marketing to children.

The research was conducted with the purpose of assessing packaged foods against marketing-related nutrition standards. Two EU-level nutrient profile models aiming at restricting food marketing to children were used for the assessment: the EU Pledge, developed by the private sector, and the WHO Europe, developed by the World Health Organization’s Regional Office for Europe.

The study assessed the nutritional composition of 2691 products, which are consumed widely in Europe, in five product categories including breakfast cereals, ready meals, processed meat, processed seafood, and yoghurts. The results show that 48% (according to the EU Pledge model) and 68% (according to the WHO Europe model) of the analysed products does not meet the criteria to be marketed to children, for the reason that they contain too much sugar, saturated fat, salt, and too little fibre.

The full report is available here.

Source: EU Science Hub