Assessment of Packaged Foods and Beverages Carrying Nutrition Marketing against Canada's Food Guide Recommendations

Nutrients. 2019 Feb 15;11(2):411. doi: 10.3390/nu11020411.


Canadians' food purchases consist largely of packaged processed and ultra-processed products, which typically fall outside the "core" foods recommended by Canada's Food Guide (CFG). Almost half of packaged products in Canada carry nutrition marketing (i.e., nutrient content and health claims). This study assessed whether packaged foods carrying nutrition marketing align with recommendations outlined in the 2007 CFG. Label data (n = 9376) were extracted from the 2013 Food Label Information Program (FLIP). Label components (including nutrition marketing) were classified using the International Network for Food and Obesity/NCDs Research, Monitoring and Action Support (INFORMAS) labelling taxonomy. The Health Canada Surveillance Tool (HCST) was used to assess the alignment of products to CFG. Each food or beverage was classified into one of five groups (i.e., Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3, Tier 4, "Others"). Products in Tier 1, 2 or water were considered "in line with CFG". Most products in the analyzed sample were classified as Tier 2 (35%) and Tier 3 (27%). Although foods with nutrition marketing were significantly more likely to align to CFG recommendations (p < 0.001), many products not "in line with CFG" still carried nutrition marketing. This study provides important baseline data that could be used upon the implementation of the new CFG.

Keywords: Canada’s food guide; INFORMAS; dietary guidelines; food supply; health Canada surveillance tool; nutrient and health claims; nutrition marketing.

MeSH terms

  • Beverages / statistics & numerical data*
  • Canada
  • Food Labeling / statistics & numerical data*
  • Food Packaging / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Marketing / methods
  • Marketing / statistics & numerical data*
  • Nutrition Policy*