A progressive nutrient profiling system to guide improvements in nutrient density of foods and beverages

Greenberg, D., Drewnowski, A., Black, R., Weststrate, J. A., O'Shea, M. (2021). A progressive nutrient profiling system to guide improvements in nutrient density of foods and beverages. Frontiers in Nutrition, 8, doi:10.3389/fnut.2021.774409  



Improving the nutrient density of processed foods is one way to bring the global food supply closer to the WHO Sustainable Development Goals. Nutrient profiling (NP) has emerged as the preferred method of monitoring the progress toward product innovation and reformulation. This paper presents PepsiCo Nutrition Criteria (PNC), a new internal NP model that was designed to guide and monitor improvements in nutrient density and overall nutritional quality of foods and beverages. The new PNC NP model assigns food products into four classes of increasing nutritional value, based on the content of nutrients to limit, along with nutrients and ingredients to encourage. The nutrient standards used for category assignment followed those developed by global dietary authorities. Standards are proposed for calories, sodium, added sugars, saturated, and industrially produced trans fats. Also included are minimum values for food groups to encourage, low-fat dairy, and for country-specific gap nutrients. Internal use of the NP model has spurred product changes that are consistent with WHO goals for industry transparency. An audited review of company products showed that 48% met added sugar, 65% met sodium, and 71% met saturated fat goals. By the end of 2020, in the top 26 regions in which products are sold, 48% of the total sales volume of global beverages had 100 kcal or less from added sugars per 355 ml serving representing 80% of beverage volume and over 90% of food volume sold globally. The PNC NP model is not consumer-facing but is specifically intended for internal use to motivate stepwise and incremental product innovation and reformulation. Transparent and published NP models further WHO goals of engaging industry stakeholders in the (re)formulation of processed foods and beverages consistent with public health goals.