Topical Area: Community and Public Health Nutrition, Obesity
Objectives : To develop a database of ingredients used in high-selling commercially packaged retail foods, using the publicly available USDA Branded Food Products Database (BFPD).
Methods : Nutrient Data Laboratory analyzed 2016 IRI (Information Resources Inc.) market sales data, and identified 32 top food categories that contribute >=1% based on either total volume/weight or number of products sold in the U.S. These include 5 baked product categories – cookies, crackers, fresh breads and rolls, pastries and doughnuts, and pies and cakes. Ingredient lists for the products contributing over 0.001% of the total weight sold for the category were obtained from BFPD. If information for the product was not available in BFPD, other sources such as manufacturer’s website were used for top-selling products (contributing over 0.1% of the total weight sold for the category), with the goal to obtain ingredient lists for at least 70-80% of the products sold by total weight for the category. Individual ingredients listed in the ingredients lists were parsed and reviewed. Many of these ingredients were synonyms, necessitating the need for a thesaurus, to facilitate combining same ingredients described otherwise. A prototype thesaurus was developed for flour and fat ingredients in the food category ‘cookies’.
Results : For food category ‘cookies’, there are ~13,500 products available, of which ingredient lists were obtained for 1,718 products representing ~84% of the total cookies sold by weight (BFPD: 1,699 products (79%); other sources: 19 top-selling products (4%)), hence, meeting our goal. These 1,718 cookie products use about 2,500 uniquely described ingredients, as per the ingredients lists on the labels. These ingredients include about 30 different types of enriched flours described in ~ 220 unique ways, including spelling errors etc on the ingredient lists. The thesaurus will need to be expanded to other ingredients.
The publicly available BFPD can be a useful resource for developing an Ingredient Database for commercially packaged retail foods. The database will be used to prioritize ingredients that need to be chemically analyzed for nutrient information, and provide insights on ‘What is in the foods we eat in America?’
Funding Sources : N/A