Evaluation of nutritional quality of biscuits and sweet snacks sold on the Italian market: the Food Labelling of Italian Products (FLIP) study

Public Health Nutr. 2020 Oct;23(15):2811-2818. doi: 10.1017/S1368980020000853. Epub 2020 Jul 8.


Objective: The present study aimed at surveying the nutritional quality of prepacked biscuits and sweet snacks sold on the Italian market, and at identifying whether the product type and other information reported on the pack could discriminate the overall quality of products analysed.

Design: Data on energy, nutrient and salt content of the products from two different categories of prepacked sweet cereal products (i.e. biscuits and sweet snacks) were collected from thirteen retailers present on the Italian market. Based on the product type, nutrition and health claim (NHC) and gluten-free (GF) declaration, a comparison of nutrient profile within each category was performed.

Setting: This work is part of the Food Labelling of Italian Products (FLIP) study that aims at systematically investigating the overall quality of the prepacked foods sold on the Italian market.

Results: A total of 1290 products were analysed (63 % biscuits and 37 % sweet snacks). After comparing different product types within each category, a high intra-type product variability was evidenced, which was more pronounced for biscuits. Overall, NHC-carrying products seemed to have a better nutrition profile than those without claims, except for salt content. Conversely, a comparison between GF and gluten-containing products did not show consistent results within the two categories analysed.

Conclusions: Due to the high intra-type variability within each category, the different characteristics and regulated information reported on the pack do not seem to be a clear marker of the overall nutritional quality of biscuits and snacks.

Keywords: Food labelling; Gluten-free; Health claims; Nutrition claims; Nutrition declaration; Nutritional quality.

MeSH terms

  • Diet, Gluten-Free
  • Food Labeling*
  • Italy
  • Nutritive Value*
  • Snacks*