Nutritional Characteristics of Prepacked Feta PDO Cheese Products in Greece: Assessment of Dietary Intakes and Nutritional Profiles

Foods. 2020 Feb 27;9(3):253. doi: 10.3390/foods9030253.


Feta cheese, a protected designation of origin (PDO) food, is one of the most important Mediterranean food products. Although it is the cheese with the highest consumption in Greece, the nutritional characteristics of products available in the market, as well as their contribution to the Greek diet, have not been evaluated in detail. In the present study, the basic nutritional content of 81 prepacked feta cheese products available in the Greek market were recorded based on their labels. This was combined with consumption data to provide an overall picture of feta cheese's contribution to the Greek diet. The nutrient contents per 100 g ranged as follows. Energy: 221-343 kcal, total fat: 20-29 g, saturated fat: 12.8-20.3 g, carbohydrates: 0-3.1 g, sugars: 0-3 g, proteins: 13.1-21.0 g and salt: 1.2-5.1 g. The median feta daily individual consumption was found to be 39 g, ranging from 20 g to 100 g (fifth and 95th percentiles, respectively). The nutritional intake analysis as a percentage of dietary reference intake (DRI) showed that saturated fat and salt are ranked on the top of the list, with intakes reaching 101.5% and 85% respectively. The products were also evaluated against five nutrient profile models and their potential use under statutory requirements and policy development are discussed.

Keywords: dairy products; feta cheese; nutrient intake; nutrient profile; nutrition claims; nutritional characteristics; nutritional labeling.