A comparison of a range of nutrient profiling models as applied to cooked meals

Vasilis Grigoriadis*, Joe Livingstone, Paul Brereton, Jayne Woodside, Anne Nugent, Beatrice Smyth, W George Hutchinson, Jelena Vlajic, Francisco Areal , Orla Collins, Novieta Sari, Rao Fu, Lynn Frewer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review

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Aim: A variety of different models for assessing the nutritive value of foods and ingredients exist, but all can be subject to criticism in not adequately assessing the full complement of nutrient components in a food or meal. This work was carried out in conjunction with an expert review panel comprised of technical experts from industry, academia, and policy, and aimed to compare some of the most prominent nutrient profiling methods when applied to a range of cooked meals.
Method: Three different models were considered: the Ofcom Nutrient Profiling Model (NPM) which is based on a point system that includes 4 nutrients to discourage and 3 nutrients/food components to encourage; the Nutrient Rich Foods (NRF) Index, which ranks foods based on only their nutrient content (usually includes 9 nutrients to encourage and 3 to limit); and finally the SAIN,LIM model, which classifies foods into four healthiness classes based on separate indexes, the SAIN (which includes 5 nutrients to encourage) and LIM (which includes 3 nutrients to discourage). These models were applied to a variety of meals– meat based and vegetarian, rice based and pasta, dairy and dairy alternatives.
Results: The Expert panel expressed a concern that the Ofcom NPM didn’t take micronutrients (e.g., iron, selenium) into account. However, Ofcom NPM considered food groups (i.e., percentage of fruit, vegetable and nut content) which will be micronutrient-rich and are regarded as a good way for testing if diets align with national dietary guidance. NRF9.3 was the most flexible index regarding the reference amount (e.g., 100grams, 100kcal and portion size). Comparing different cooked meals, vegetarian meals performed better than meat-based meals (e.g., spaghetti Bolognese made with beef versus Quorn); and meals that included dairy seemed to score more poorly than those which didn’t.
Conclusion: Assessing the “healthiness” of meals using different methods is dependent on the choice of profiling model used. Scores should be considered under the lens of each model’s characteristics. Nutrient profiling models that are selected to influence consumers’ food choices and preferences should also align with both sustainability targets and nutritional guidelines.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 06 Nov 2023
Event37th EFFoST International Conference 2023: Sustainable Food and Industry 4.0: Towards the 2030 Agenda - Valencia, Spain
Duration: 06 Nov 202308 Nov 2023
Conference number: 37


Conference37th EFFoST International Conference 2023
Internet address


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