Using theNutritionCompassmodel for building healthy meals

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Abstract

Mars Food UK commissioned the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) to develop the NutritionCompass, and have applied this to building healthy recipes and meals. The research conducted by BNF, comparing popular meals in the UK against a set of nutritional criteria based on UK nutrient and food-based recommendations, culminated in this tool, which can be applied to evaluate the ‘healthiness’ of a recipe based on the criteria developed. Key outcomes showed that meals made from partly pre-prepared ingredients compare well with meals cooked from scratch provided they are used in a meal occasion that includes a healthy balance of food groups such as starchy carbohydrates, vegetables and protein-rich foods. The development of the NutritionCompass has allowed recipes and recipe suggestions to be optimised using partly pre-prepared ingredients. Small changes in a recipe can result in a significantly healthier meal (e.g. adding vegetables or baking rather than frying, which is comparable for taste, convenience and affordability). Mars Food UK is exploring how this tool can be used more widely across the business and how it can be used to enable consumers to eat healthier meals.

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