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Assessing the potential impact of a front-of-pack nutritional rating system on food availability in school canteens: A randomised controlled trial

journal contribution
posted on 2023-02-13, 05:00 authored by K Reilly, N Nathan, JHY Wu, T Delaney, R Wyse, M Cobcroft, J Wiggers, R Sutherland, K Buffett, Serene YoongSerene Yoong, L Wolfenden
Background Front-of-pack graphical nutritional rating of products is becoming an important strategy in many countries to improve healthy food purchases by consumers. Evidence of the effectiveness of such on facilitating healthy food choices by school food service providers has not been reported. The primary aim of the study was to assess the impact of providing front-of-pack nutritional rating information on school canteen managers’ likely food selections. Secondary outcomes were canteen manager awareness, attitudes and reported barriers to using the front-of-pack information. Methods A randomised controlled trial involving primary school canteen managers was conducted in a single region in New South Wales, Australia. Eligible participants were randomised to an intervention or control group and asked in a telephone interview which of 12 common food products sold in school canteens they would sell. Both groups received product name and brand information. The intervention group also received information regarding the nutritional rating of products. Results Canteen managers in the intervention group were significantly more likely than those in the control group to indicate they would sell three of the six ‘healthier’ products (p = 0.036, 0.005, 0.009). There was no difference between groups in the likelihood of making available for sale any of the six ‘less healthy’ products. The majority of canteen managers who had heard of a product nutritional rating system agreed that it was helpful in identifying ‘healthier’ foods (88%, n = 31). Conclusions The inclusion of product nutritional rating information has the potential to improve the availability of some ‘healthier’ items on canteen menus and contribute to improving child dietary intake. Further research is required to determine whether the use of product nutritional rating information actually makes a difference to canteen manager choices.

History

Journal

Appetite

Volume

121

Pagination

309-315

Location

England

ISSN

0195-6663

eISSN

1095-8304

Language

English

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Publisher

ACADEMIC PRESS LTD- ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD