Ultraprocessed Products as Food Fortification Alternatives: A Critical Appraisal from Latin America

Maria F. Kroker-Lobos,Mónica Mazariegos,Mónica Guamuch and Manuel Ramirez-Zea
Nutrients (MDPI)
Resource type:
Peer review

Ultraprocessed products (UPPs), associated with obesity and non-communicable diseases (NCDs), are becoming predominant on the global market and a target for market-driven fortification initiatives. The aim of this article is to describe the implications of adding micronutrients to UPPs with excessive amounts of critical nutrients associated with NCDs and provide recommendations for legislation and policies. UPPs with added micronutrients such as breakfast cereals, sugar-sweetened beverages, powder beverages, fruit juices, sauces, and bouillon cubes, among others, are commonly available and heavily promoted in Latin American countries. Misleading advertising of UPPs with added micronutrients and with excessive content of sugar, fat, and salt might increase the consumption of such products, giving them a “health halo effect” that leads consumers to overestimate their nutritional quality and healthfulness. Although international collections of standards such as the Codex Alimentarius provide some guidelines on this matter, countries need to implement national legislations, through a food systems approach, to regulate the marketing and labeling of UPPs. Lastly, there is still the need to foster research to close knowledge gaps and help countries to guide the process of food fortification strategies from a regulatory standpoint.

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This resource has been peer reviewed