Health-related messages in the labeling of processed meat products: a market evaluation
Background: Food labeling is an important communication tool for the exposure of nutrition information in foods.
Objective: The presence of labeling messages related to nutrients, health properties, allergens, and additives in meat products marketed in Spain was analyzed in this work. The data collection was done through the web pages of six Spanish meat industries, and 642 products were gathered. The following labeling information was collected: the presence of nutrition claims, the presence of health claims, messages indicating the absence of additives, and those reporting the absence or presence of allergenic substances.
Results: A total of 1,254 messages were found with the following distribution: 72% were related to the presence/ absence of allergens, 19% were nutrition claims, 8% were messages related to the absence of additives, and only 0.4% were health claims. Fat was the nutrient most frequently referred in the nutrition claims, accounting for a 63.5% of this type of claims, with the expression ‘low-fat’, as the most used (42% of total nutrition claims). Prevalence of processed meat products that showed nutrition claims was 29%, whereas the percentage of products that showed information about allergenic compounds was 83%.
Conclusion: This work provides information about the presence of health-related messages in a high number of meat products, which could be useful as a tool for marketing purposes or for consumer trends evaluation studies.
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