A major cause of obesity and chronic diseases is a food supply delivering energy‐dense product with high levels of salt, saturated fats and added sugars, in large portion sizes. The highly processed food products, manufactured by large food corporations, are primary drivers of increases in consumption of these adverse nutrients. Monitoring the nutritional quality of products which are available on the market is needed to support governments and the industry to develop and enact strategies to curb diet‐related chronic diseases through an improving healthiness of the national food supply.
The proposed monitoring approach seeks to mainly assess the energy density, total sugar, salt, saturated fat, trans fats and portion sizes of packaged foods for sale in the five major supermarket chains in Belgium. Such monitoring systems have already been undertaken in several high‐ and middle‐income countries, and the trends overtime have been valuable in informing policy approaches.
The purpose of collecting such data on the nutritional quality of food products available is to provide information to support governments and the industry to develop and enact strategies to curb diet‐related chronic diseases through an improving healthiness of the national food supply. The monitoring of the Belgian food supply uses different data collection methods (i.e. pictures and manual data entry, data transfer by retailers and web scraping where possible).
To collect reliable and comparable data on the healthiness of the food supply in Belgium. The primary focus is on the nutritional quality of food products on the Belgian market, i.e. for sale in supermarkets.
This data collection contributes to other policy goals and research questions:
- extent and nature of nutrition and health claims on healthier and less healthy food products
- extent and nature of food marketing to children on healthier and less healthy food products
- investigation of the potential impact of the Nutriscore front-of-pack labelling system on food reformulation