A comprehensive sample of breakfast cereals (a total of 221 breakfast cereals available in the market) were compared according to their nutritional composition, being analysed using three nutrient profiling systems to categorise foods as “healthier” or “less healthy”. Differences were further on investigated focusing on the use of nutrition and health claims on the labelling. The aim was to determine how much the use of such a claim corresponds to the categorisation into “healthier” or “less healthy” group.
The sample contained 161 (72.9%) items with claims and 60 (27.1%) items, without claims. The nutrient profiles of the foods were determined by the UK Ofcom model, the FSANZ model and the modified Traffic Light model. All the models use similar but nevertheless different ways of determining the final score of “healthier” or “less healthy”. The percentage of foods classified as “healthier” was well below 72.9% (from 24.8% to 52.2%), indicating that profiling with each model involves stricter criteria for the classifying of foods compared to the permission to carry a nutrition and/or health claim. The difference is the most pronounced for the modified Traffic Light system, while the UK Ofcom and FSANZ systems give results closer to the use of claims.