Green and amber foods: The nutritional content of food and beverages registered for sale in New South Wales school canteens with Healthy Kids Association

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Aim:The aim of this study was to describe key nutritional characteristics of food and beverage products registered with the product registration scheme of Healthy Kids Association (formerly the New South Wales School Canteen Association).Methods:The nutritional characteristics of Healthy Kids Association's registered products as of October 2009 were examined. Nutrient content data were obtained from product nutrition information panels, for each product within popular product subcategories. The level of key nutrients (including saturated fat, sugar, calcium and fibre) was identified and analysed in relation to the nutrient criteria threshold levels for green and amber food categories. The distribution of nutrients in relation to the food category thresholds was examined.Results:For most product subcategories, the nutrient content of products clustered just below the nutrient criteria thresholds for total energy, saturated fat, sodium and sugar. The nutrient content for the positive nutrients calcium and fibre frequently clustered just above the threshold. In addition, small package sizes were found to be common among food classified as amber.Conclusion:This study illustrates a method for analysing and describing the range and nutrient profile of products registered with a product registration or nutrition signposting scheme. The distribution of key nutrients around criteria thresholds suggests that products are formulated with reference to the nutrient thresholds of the product registration scheme. However, nutrient thresholds may also be achieved through manufacturing smaller portion sizes. The potential of nutrient thresholds as levers to influence the nutritional profile of foods needs further research and industry dialogue.

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