International collaborative project to compare and monitor the nutritional composition of processed foods

Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2012 Dec;19(6):1326-32. doi: 10.1177/1741826711425777. Epub 2011 Oct 4.


Background: Chronic diseases are the leading cause of premature death and disability in the world with overnutrition a primary cause of diet-related ill health. Excess energy intake, saturated fat, sugar, and salt derived from processed foods are a major cause of disease burden. Our objective is to compare the nutritional composition of processed foods between countries, between food companies, and over time.

Design: Surveys of processed foods will be done in each participating country using a standardized methodology. Information on the nutrient composition for each product will be sought either through direct chemical analysis, from the product label, or from the manufacturer. Foods will be categorized into 14 groups and 45 categories for the primary analyses which will compare mean levels of nutrients at baseline and over time. Initial commitments to collaboration have been obtained from 21 countries.

Conclusions: This collaborative approach to the collation and sharing of data will enable objective and transparent tracking of processed food composition around the world. The information collected will support government and food industry efforts to improve the nutrient composition of processed foods around the world.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Asia
  • Australia
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Europe
  • Fast Foods / analysis*
  • Fast Foods / classification
  • Food Labeling
  • Food-Processing Industry* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Government Regulation
  • Humans
  • International Cooperation*
  • North America
  • Nutrition Policy* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Nutritive Value*
  • Pacific Islands
  • Program Development
  • South Africa
  • South America
  • Time Factors