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The Art of Food Classification

As many nutrient profiling methods are based on food group-specific cut-off values for nutrients, the question is relevant how such food grouping should take place. As a scientific substantiation of food grouping could not be found, Choices intern Darius Bazimya from Wageningen University started an explorative study into this subject. He selected 19 relevant food classifications, that have been developed for different purposes related to health. It appeared that all food classifications were designed for a specific purpose and sometimes for a specific target group (e.g. marketing to children). It is important that health-related food classifications are coherent with the food groups from the national dietary guidelines. 

The exploration gave some interesting findings. The number of food groups varies widely: Singapore had the highest number with 82 groups; most nutrient profiles had between 18 and 30 groups. Only the Choices based nutrient profiles make a distinction between basic and non-basic food groups. Most food group classifications differentiate between processed and unprocessed foods.  The study report can be found here.

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