Manufacturer-driven discretionary nutritional ...

2 downloads 0 Views 61KB Size Report
Rockstar Energy Drink, for instance, attributes much of its recent sales to creating a brand that “has clearly resonated with consumers, partly due to … its im-.


EDITORIAL Manufacturer-driven discretionary nutritional fortification of “novel beverages” Appl. Physiol. Nutr. Metab. Downloaded from by on 08/20/15 For personal use only.

Introduction I am delighted to welcome this editorial from Drs Shearer and Elliott regarding the publication in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism. It is very timely and serves as a compliment to the Food for Health workshops held by the Canadian Nutrition Society, particularly the report by Gramlich et al. (2014). While we scientists often point our finger at convenience foods and the enormous marketing effort associated with them, we need to accept that they are part of our society and to direct our efforts to what Gramlich and colleagues described as “the consumer disconnect from scientific findings to useful consumer information”. The following editorial draws our attention to an excellent example of such positive scientific actions. While this particular investigation by Dachner et al. addressed novel beverages, I would encourage my colleagues to continue similar examinations of the many other food items that are heavily marketed. Our society needs and wants such direct, clear information in order to make the best, healthy food choices. Sincerely, Terry Graham Editor

“An examination of the nutrient content and on-package marketing of novel beverages” by Dachner and colleagues The term discretionary fortification refers to the addition of vitamins and minerals to foods and beverages at the discretion of manufacturers, primarily for marketing purposes. The novel beverages analyzed contained an average of 4.5 different nutritional fortifications O and with many products exceeding the Estimated Average Requirements (EAR, Institute of Medicine) for nutrients for men aged 19–30 years. The EAR for young men was used since they are a key target market for novel beverages. EAR levels represent intakes required to maintain optimal health and reduce the risk of chronic disease for healthy individuals. Of the beverages analyzed, 83% provided at least 1 nutrient exceeding the EAR, with many containing 3 or more nutrients in excess of EAR. In many instances, nutrient additions exceeded the daily requirement for 1 if not all added nutrients, suggesting incongruence with population health needs. In spite of this evidence, most products were being marketed as providing a “unique benefit to the consumer through nutrient additions” (Dachner et al. 2015). To examine patterns of discretionary fortification communication to consumers, Dachner et al. (2015) performed a content analysis of product labels. Content analysis is a tool to document and analyze marketing messages of products (Elliot 2008). This method examines label content as well as implicit and explicit messages expressed in beverage graphics. When it comes to novel beverages, many marketing strategies play up the product’s connection to endurance, alertness, refreshment, and/or weight maintenance or loss. Such approaches generally emphasize “image” over hydration, nutrition, or taste. Experience marketing (Schmitt 1999) is also prevalent, in which focus is placed on the ways that consumers are interested in using goods to reflect lifestyles, sensory experiences, and socialAppl. Physiol. Nutr. Metab. 40: iii–iv (2015)

identity experiences, among other things. Rockstar Energy Drink, for instance, attributes much of its recent sales to creating a brand that “has clearly resonated with consumers, partly due to … its image: a sturdy black can with gold and red lettering, gold star icon and provocative slogan (Party like a ROCKSTAR!), not to mention a brand name suggestive of celebrity, high energy and sex appeal.” (available from; accessed 11 January 2015). Likewise, Glacéau Vitaminwater is promoted as a “brilliant combination” for “inquisitive epicureans” or those “interested in hydrology” (Glacéau Vitaminwater 2015). The beverage themes, including “focus, go-go, spark, xxx and xoxox”, target the active and busy “inquisitive epicurean”, who is interested in hydration and health. From a public health perspective, there appears to be little to no health benefit associated with discretionary fortification of novel beverages. Unlike traditional nutrient fortification practices (e.g., vitamin D to milk, folic acid to flour, and iodinization of salt), which are mandated by Health Canada, novel beverage discretionary fortification strategies typically lie in the hands of manufacturers. At present, Canadian legislation limits levels of caffeine in novel beverages, but not vitamins and minerals. As such, potential hazards lie in the exposure of certain subgroups to nutrient excess. Children are particularly at risk since their body masses are well below that of adults, and therefore may exceed the upper tolerable limits for specific nutrients (Sacco et al. 2013). Although novel beverage nutrition labelling in Canada is both regulated and consistent, it is estimated that one-third of Canadians do not read nutritional labels (Goodman et al. 2011; Dachner et al. 2015). For those who do, differentiating between levels of nutrients that are unnecessary versus those that are beneficial to them is no simple matter. For many consumers, nutrient fortification (including those from novel beverages) may impart a sense of control over dietary intake and are widely believed to be an easy way to stay healthy. Sacco and colleagues (Sacco and Tarasuk 2011) document that the greater the intake of discretionarily fortified foods, the lower the intake of fruits and vegetables, milk products, and meats and alternatives, suggesting the replacement of healthy eating practices with convenience foods and beverages. Given this, new proposed legislation by Health Canada, both to limit levels of certain micronutrients as well as prohibit the addition of others in novel beverages, will be a positive change for consumers (Health Canada Food Directorate 2014). Jane Shearer, Associate Editor Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Medicine, and Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Charlene Elliott Department of Communication, Media, and Film, Faculty of Arts, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

References Dachner, N., Mendelson, R., Sacco, J., and Tarasuk, V. 2015. An examination of the nutrient content and on-package marketing of novel beverages. Appl. Physiol. Nutr. 40(2): 191–198. doi:10.1139/apnm-2014-0252. Published by NRC Research Press


Health Canada Food Directorate. 2014. Category Specific Guidance for Temporary Marketing Authorization: Beverages, Beverage Mixes and Concentrates, Powders, Bars and Confectionaries. Sacco, J.E., and Tarasuk, V. 2011. Discretionary addition of vitamins and minerals to foods: implications for healthy eating. Eur. J. Clin. Nutr. 65: 313–320. PMID:21119698. Sacco, J.E., Dodd, K.W., Kirkpatrick, S.I., and Tarasuk, V. 2013. Voluntary food fortification in the United States: potential for excessive intakes. Eur. J. Clin. Nutr. 67: 592–597. PMID:23462939. Schmitt, B. 1999. Experiential marketing. Journal of Marketing Management, 15(1–3): 53–67. doi:10.1362/026725799784870496.

Appl. Physiol. Nutr. Metab. Downloaded from by on 08/20/15 For personal use only.

Elliott, C. 2008. Assessing ‘fun foods’: nutritional content and analysis of supermarket foods targeted at children. Obes. Rev. 9: 368–377. PMID:17961131. Goodman, S., Hammond, D., Pillo-Blocka, F., Glanville, T., and Jenkins, R. 2011. Use of nutritional information in Canada: national trends between 2004 and 2008. J. Nutr. Educ. Behav. 43: 356–365. PMID:21906548. Gramlich, L., Lamarche, B., Ma, D., and Tremblay, A. 2014. Communication and Food Messaging: The Consumer Disconnect “From scientific findings to useful consumer information”. Appl. Physiol. Nutr. Metab. 39(4): iii–iv. doi:10. 1139/apnm-2014-0062. Glacéau Vitaminwater. 2015. FAQ. Available from en/faqs/. [Accessed 7 January 2015.]

Appl. Physiol. Nutr. Metab. Vol. 40, 2015

Published by NRC Research Press

Suggest Documents