Prevalence of Nutrition and Health-Related Claims on Pre-Packaged Foods: A Five-Country Study in Europe.
BACKGROUND Chronic diseases are the leading cause of premature death and disability in the world with over-nutrition a primary cause of diet-related ill health. Excess quantities of energy, saturated fat, sugar and salt derived from fast foods contribute importantly to this disease burden. Our objective is to collate and compare nutrient composition data for fast foods as a means of supporting improvements in product formulation. METHODS/DESIGN Surveys of fast foods will be done in each participating country each year. Information on the nutrient composition for each product will be sought either through direct chemical analysis, from fast food companies, in-store materials or from company websites. Foods will be categorized into major groups for the primary analyses which will compare mean levels of saturated fat, sugar, sodium, energy and serving size at baseline and over time. Countries currently involved include Australia, New Zealand, France, UK, USA, India, Spain, China and Canada, with more anticipated to follow. DISCUSSION This collaborative approach to the collation and sharing of data will enable low-cost tracking of fast food composition around the world. This project represents a significant step forward in the objective and transparent monitoring of industry and government commitments to improve the quality of fast foods.