Papers in English

Five recent scientific papers published in peer-reviewed journals concerning Nutri-Score (march-july 2022)

Secondary Outcomes of a Front-of-Pack-Labelling Randomised Controlled Experiment in a Representative British Sample: Understanding, Ranking Speed and Perceptions
Packer J, Russell SJ, Ridout D, Conolly A, Jessop C, Viner RM, Croker H.
Nutrients. 2022 May 24;14(11):2188. doi: 10.3390/nu14112188. PMID: 35683988; PMCID: PMC9182518.
https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/14/11/2188

Abstract

Front-of-pack labels (FOPLs) provide simplified nutritional information that aims to inform consumer choice and encourage reformulation. We conducted an online randomised controlled experiment on a representative British sample to test the effectiveness of FOPLs across a range of outcomes. The primary outcomes have been published; here, we present the secondary outcomes: the ability to rank the healthiest product and the time to complete the rankings by comparing the FOPL groups and a no-label control, as well as a descriptive analysis of the perceptions. Participants from the NatCen panel were randomised to one of five experimental groups: Multiple Traffic Lights (MTL); Nutri-Score (N-S); Warning Label (WL); Positive Choice tick (PC); no-label control). Six food/drink categories were selected (pizza, drinks, cakes, crisps, yoghurts, breakfast cereals), and three products were created with varying healthiness. The participants (analytic sample = 4530) were asked to rank the products in order of healthiness twice (baseline: no label; follow-up: experimental group label). Compared to the control, the probability of correctly ranking the healthiest product at follow-up was significantly greater for the N-S, MTL and WL across all products. The time to correctly complete the ranking was fastest for the N-S, PC and no-label control. The descriptive analysis showed that the FOPLs were perceived favourably, and especially N-S and MTL. The findings were supportive of the primary analyses, with those results suggesting that N-S performed the best, and then MTL

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Effects of Digital Food Labels on Healthy Food Choices in Online Grocery Shopping.
Fuchs KL, Lian J, Michels L, Mayer S, Toniato E, Tiefenbeck V.
Nutrients. 2022 May 13;14(10):2044. doi: 10.3390/nu14102044. PMID: 35631185; PMCID: PMC9146588.
https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/14/10/2044/htm

Abstract

In order to induce the shift in consumer behavior necessary for the mitigation of diet-related diseases, front-of-package labels (FoPL) such as the Nutri-Score that support consumers in their efforts to identify nutritionally valuable products during grocery shopping have been found to be effective; however, they remain non-compulsory in most regions. Counter-intuitively, a similar stream of research on digital web-based FoPL does not yet exist, even though such digital labels hold several advantages over physical labels. Digital FoPL can provide scalable and personalized interventions, are easier to implement than physical labels, and are especially timely due to the recent increase in online grocery shopping. The goal of this study was to demonstrate the technical feasibility and intervention potential of novel, scalable, and passively triggered health behavior interventions distributed via easy-to-install web browser extensions designed to support healthy food choices via the inclusion of digital FoPL in online supermarkets. To that end, we developed a Chrome web browser extension for a real online supermarket and evaluated the effect of this digital food label intervention (i.e., display of the Nutri-Score next to visible products) on the nutritional quality of individuals’ weekly grocery shopping in a randomized controlled laboratory trial (N = 135). Compared to the control group, individuals exposed to the intervention chose products with a higher nutritional quality (e.g., 8% higher healthy trolley index (HETI), 3.3% less sugar, 7.5% less saturated fat). In particular, users with low food literacy seemed to benefit from the digital FoPL (e.g., 11% higher HETI, 10.5% less sugar, 5.5% less saturated fat). Furthermore, participants exposed to the food label advocated its introduction more strongly than the control group (p = 0.081). Consumers worldwide could easily install such applications to display digital food labels on their end devices, and would thus not have to wait for stakeholders in the food industry to eventually reach consensus on mandatory food label introduction.

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Food consumption based on the nutrient profile system underlying the Nutri-Score and renal function in older adults.
Montero-Salazar H, Guallar-Castillón P, Banegas JR, Åkesson A, Rey-García J, Rodríguez-Artalejo F, Donat-Vargas C.
Clin Nutr. 2022 Jul;41(7):1541-1548.
doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2022.05.004. Epub 2022 May 14. PMID: 35667270.
https://www.clinicalnutritionjournal.com/article/S0261-5614(22)00155-8/fulltext

Abstract

Background: The impact of the Nutri-Score labelling system on renal function is unknown.
Objective: To assess the association between food consumption based on the nutrient profile system underlying the Nutri-Score and renal function decline in older adults.
Methods: We used data from the Spain-based Seniors-ENRICA cohort, a study with 1312 community-dwelling adults aged ≥60 years recruited during 2008-2010 and followed up to December 2015. At baseline, a validated dietary history was obtained. Based on their nutritional quality, foods consumed were categorized into five labels (A/Green-best quality, B, C, D, E/Red-worst quality) using the established Nutri-Score algorithm. For each participant, a Nutri-Score dietary index (DI) was calculated in g/day/kg of weight. At baseline and at follow-up, measured serum creatinine (SCr) and estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) levels were obtained, and time changes were calculated. A combined outcome for renal decline was defined as: any increase in SCr or any decrease in eGFR beyond expected-for-age. Statistical analyses were performed with logistic regression adjusting for socioeconomic, lifestyle, total energy intake, fresh foods, and comorbidity confounders.
Results: A total of 183 cases of renal-function decline occurred over a mean 6-year follow-up. Participants with a higher (less favorable) Nutri-Score DI (interquartile range (IQR)13.2-17.7 (g/day/kg of weight); 46 cases) had higher probability of renal decline than those with a lower Nutri-Score DI (IQR 36.6-46.2; 44 cases); the corresponding odds ratios (95% confidence interval) across increasing quartiles of Nutri-Score DI were 1 (reference), 1.26 (0.78-2.04), 1.55 (0.92-2.62), and 1.82 (1.01-3.30), P-trend = 0.045. Per each 10-point increase in the Nutri-Score DI the odds of renal decline increased by 27% (6%-52%).
Conclusions: Higher Nutri-Score DI, reflecting the consumption of foods with less favourable Nutri-Score rating, was associated with higher kidney function decline in older adults. Consequently, Nutri-Score labeling might be a useful policy tool for preventing kidney function decline, adding to the potential health benefits of this front-of-pack labelling system.

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Literacy and Its Associations with Understanding and Perception of Front-of-Package Nutrition Labels among
Hoge A, Labeye M, Donneau AF, Nekoee HZ, Husson E, Guillaume M.
Health Higher Education Students.
Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Jul 19;19(14):8751.
doi: 10.3390/ijerph19148751. PMID: 35886603.
https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/19/14/8751

Abstract

(1) Background: Nutrition labels on the front of food packages have increasingly become the focus of research. However, too few studies have placed special emphasis on nutritionally at-risk subpopulations, such as young adults or those with low literacy/numeracy skills. The present study aimed to assess both the perception and objective understanding of three front-of-package labeling (FOPL) formats currently in use on the Belgian market, i.e., the Nutri-Score, Reference Intakes, and Multiple Traffic Lights, among students of varying health literacy (HL) levels. (2) Methods: A web-based survey was carried out among 2295 students of tertiary education in the province of Liège, Belgium. The questionnaire included questions related to general characteristics, objective understanding, and perception in response to the assigned FOPL format and level of HL. (3) Results: With respect to objective understanding, the Nutri-Score outperformed all other labels across all HL levels, and it was similarly understood in students of varying HL levels. Several students’ characteristics appeared to be associated with each cluster of perception, with the Nutri-Score cluster having the highest percentages of disadvantaged students, i.e., those with inadequate HL, from non-university institutions, with low self-estimated nutrition knowledge, and with low self-estimated diet quality. (4) Conclusion: Overall, the findings supported the Nutri-Score as particularly effective in guiding students in their food choices. Of particular importance is the fact that the summarized and graded color-coded nutritional label would be a useful strategy for those disadvantaged by limited HL.

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Associations Between the Modified Food Standard Agency Nutrient Profiling System Dietary Index and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in an Elderly Population
Khoury N, Gómez-Donoso C, Martínez MA, Martínez-González MA, Corella D, Fitó M, Martínez JA, Alonso-Gómez AM, Wärnberg J, Vioque J, Romaguera D, León-Acuña A, Tinahones FJ, Santos-Lozano JM, Serra-Majem L, Massó Guijarro P, Tur JA, Martín Sánchez V, Pintó X, Delgado-Rodríguez M, Matía-Martín P, Vidal J, Vázquez C, Daimiel L, Ros E, Bes-Rastrollo M, Barragan R, Castañer O, Torres-Peña JD, Notario-Barandiaran L, Muñoz-Bravo C, Abete I, Prohens L, Cano-Ibáñez N, Tojal Sierra L, Fernández-García JC, Sayon-Orea C, Pascual M, Sorli JV, Zomeño D, Peña-Orihuela PJ, Signes-Pastor AJ, Basterra-Gortari FJ, Schröeder H, Jordi Salas Salvadó J and Babio N
Front. Nutr., 14 July 2022, Sec. Nutritional Epidemiology
https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2022.897089/full

Abstract

Background: Helping consumers to improve the nutritional quality of their diet is a key public health action to prevent cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). The modified version of the Food Standard Agency Nutrient Profiling System Dietary Index (FSAm-NPS DI) underpinning the Nutri-Score front-of-pack label has been used in public health strategies to address the deleterious consequences of poor diets. This study aimed to assess the association between the FSAm-NPS DI and some CVD risk factors including body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, plasma glucose levels, triglyceride levels, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and diastolic and systolic blood pressure.

Materials and Methods: Dietary intake was assessed at baseline and after 1 year of follow-up using a 143-item validated semi-quantitative food-frequency questionnaire. Dietary indices based on FSAm-NPS applied at an individual level were computed to characterize the diet quality of 5,921 participants aged 55–75 years with overweight/obesity and metabolic syndrome from the PREDIMED-plus cohort. Associations between the FSAm-NPS DI and CVD risk factors were assessed using linear regression models.

Results: Compared to participants with a higher nutritional quality of diet (measured by a lower FSAm-NPS DI at baseline or a decrease in FSAm-NPS DI after 1 year), those participants with a lower nutritional quality of diet (higher FSAm-NPS DI or an increase in score) showed a significant increase in the levels of plasma glucose, triglycerides, diastolic blood pressure, BMI, and waist circumference (β coefficient [95% confidence interval]; P for trend) (1.67 [0.43, 2.90]; <0.001; 6.27 [2.46, 10.09]; <0.001; 0.56 [0.08, 1.05]; 0.001; 0.51 [0.41, 0.60]; <0.001; 1.19 [0.89, 1.50]; <0.001, respectively). No significant associations in relation to changes in HDL and LDL-cholesterol nor with systolic blood pressure were shown.

Conclusion: This prospective cohort study suggests that the consumption of food items with a higher FSAm-NPS DI is associated with increased levels of several major risk factors for CVD including adiposity, fasting plasma glucose, triglycerides, and diastolic blood pressure. However, results must be cautiously interpreted because no significant prospective associations were identified for critical CVD risk factors, such as HDL and LDL-cholesterol, and systolic blood pressure.