Supermarket Circulars Promoting the Sales of 'Healthy' Foods: Analysis Based on Degree of Processing

Alyne Michelle Botelho, Anice Milbratz de Camargo, Kharla Janinny Medeiros, Gabriella Beatriz Irmão, Moira Dean, Giovanna Medeiros Rataichesck Fiates

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Abstract

The health and wellness food sector grew 98% from 2009 to 2014 in Brazil, the world's fourth-biggest market. The trend has reached supermarket circulars, which recently started to feature whole sections advertising health and wellness-enhancing foods. This study identified food items advertised in circulars' specific sections of two Brazilian supermarket chains (one regional, one national) during a 10-week period. Foods were classified according to degree of food processing and presence/type of claims on their front-of-pack (FoP) labels. Comparison between groups of Unprocessed/Minimally Processed foods vs. Ultra-processed foods and presence/type of claims employed Pearson chi-square test. From the 434 alleged health and wellness-enhancing foods advertised, around half (51.4%) were classified as Ultra-processed. Presence of reduced and increased nutrient-content claims was significantly higher in labels of Ultra-processed foods. Most frequent claims addressed sugar and fibre content. Brazilian supermarket circulars were found to be promoting the sale of Ultra-processed foods in their health and wellness sections, leading to a situation that can mislead the consumer and bring negative health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2877
Number of pages13
JournalNutrients
Volume12
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sep 2020

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