Purpose: Modifications to the amount and type of fat in the diet are recommended as strategies to help reduce heart disease risk. Individuals can choose from a variety of margarines and oils to alter their intakes of different types of fats, and nutrient content claims on product labels (e.g., 'low in saturated fat') can help them quickly identify healthful products. However, margarines and oils vary in price.
Methods: To examine the relationship between the price and amounts of saturated and trans fats in margarines and oils, and the relationship between price and the presence of nutrient content claims, price and label information were recorded for margarines (n=229) and oils (n=342) sold in the major supermarkets within the Greater Toronto Area.
Results: Linear regression analysis revealed a negative relationship between the price and amounts of saturated fat and trans fats in margarines, but not in oils. Margarines with a nutrient content claim were significantly more expensive than were those without a claim.
Conclusions: The findings for margarines are of particular concern for lower income groups for whom budgetary constraints result in the purchase of lower priced foods, and also raise important questions about the usefulness of nutrient content claims in guiding food selections.