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Nutrition and packaging characteristics of toddler foods and milks in Australia

Objective:
To analyse nutritional and packaging characteristics of toddler-specific foods and milks in the Australian retail food environment to identify how such products fit within the Australian Dietary Guidelines (ADG) and the NOVA classification.

Design:
Cross-sectional retail audit of toddler foods and milks. On-pack product attributes were recorded. Products were categorised as (1) food or milk; (2) snack food or meal and (3) snacks sub-categorised depending on main ingredients. Products were classified as a discretionary or core food as per the ADG and level of processing according to NOVA classification.

Setting:
Supermarkets and pharmacies in Australia.

Results:
A total of 154 foods and thirty-two milks were identified. Eighty percentage of foods were snacks, and 60 % of foods were classified as core foods, while 85 % were ultraprocessed (UP). Per 100 g, discretionary foods provided significantly more energy, protein, total and saturated fat, carbohydrate, total sugar and Na (P < 0·001) than core foods. Total sugars were significantly higher (P < 0·001) and Na significantly lower (P < 0·001) in minimally processed foods than in UP foods. All toddler milks (n 32) were found to have higher energy, carbohydrate and total sugar levels than full-fat cow’s milk per 100 ml. Claims and messages were present on 99 % of foods and all milks.

Conclusions:
The majority of toddler foods available in Australia are UP snack foods and do not align with the ADG. Toddler milks, despite being UP, do align with the ADG. A strengthened regulatory approach may address this issue.

History

Journal

Public Health Nutrition

Pagination

1 - 13

Publisher

Cambridge University Press

Location

Cambridge, Eng.

ISSN

1368-9800

eISSN

1475-2727

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2020, The Author(s)