Extensive use of on-pack promotional claims on commercial baby foods in the UK

Garcia, A. L. , Menon, R. and Parrett, A. (2022) Extensive use of on-pack promotional claims on commercial baby foods in the UK. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 107(6), pp. 606-611. (doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2021-322851) (PMID:35228205)

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Objective: To explore and categorise the nature of promotional claims on packaging of commercial baby foods (CBFs). Setting: UK Methodology: An online survey of CBFs (for infants up to 12+ months) in 7 UK supermarkets and Amazon in 2020. On-pack promotions were classified as marketing, composition, health, and nutrient claims using the WHO Nutrient Profile Model draft for infants and young children, and European Union regulation on health and nutrition claims. Main outcome measure: Distribution and proportion of claim types, and association between product characteristics and claim types. Results: A total of 6265 promotional claims were identified on 724 products. Marketing (99%, n=720), composition (97%, n=705) and nutrient claims (85%, n=616) were found on the majority of CBFs, compared with health claims (6%, n=41). The median (Q1, Q3) number of total claims per product was 9 (7, 10), marketing 5 (3, 6), composition 2 (1, 2), nutrient 2 (1, 2), and 0 (0, 0) health. Marketing claims were mainly texture (84%, n=609, eg, super smooth) and taste related (70%, n=511, eg, first tastes). The main composition claim was organic (63%, n=457) while nutrient claims were mainly around ‘no added’ or ‘less’ sugar (58%, n=422) and salt (57%, n=417). Baby led weaning claims (BLW) (eg, encourages self-feeding) were found on 72% of snacks, with a significantly higher (p<0.01) number of BLW claims on snacks (99%, n=209) compared with other product types. Conclusion: Promotional claims on CBF packaging are extensively used and, for the most part, unregulated. CBFs are promoted using ‘healthy halo’ connotations that might confuse parents. Regulations on their use should be implemented to avoid inappropriate marketing.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Menon, Ms Rebekah and Garcia, Dr Ada and Parrett, Dr Alison
Authors: Garcia, A. L., Menon, R., and Parrett, A.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing
Journal Name:Archives of Disease in Childhood
Publisher:BMJ Publishing Group
ISSN (Online):1468-2044
Published Online:28 February 2022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 The Authors
First Published:First published in Archives of Disease in Childhood 107(6): 606-611
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy
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