The examine discovered that when requested how processed they thought a given meals was, folks perceived this meals heuristically at an analogous degree of processing because it had been formally rated by the NOVA classification, and even an analogous degree of well being because it had been rated by Nutri-Rating.
Client perceptions and the NOVA classification
NOVA is a classification system, designed by researcher Carlos Augusto Monteiroto, to designate meals, within the worlds of the current examine, ‘in accordance with the diploma and goal of processing.’
By means of NOVA, meals might be categorised in considered one of 4 methods: a rating of 1 is unprocessed or minimally processed, 2 is processed culinary substances, 3 is processed meals and 4 is ultra-processed meals, or UPF.
The examine, which was printed within the journal Meals High quality and Choice, aimed to evaluate the hyperlinks between shopper perceptions of well being and their notion of processing, and the way these aligned with official well being classifications (Nutri-Rating) and, extra importantly, processing classifications (the NOVA system).
Performed through an internet survey, the examine requested 498 members ‘When enthusiastic about meals merchandise produced by the meals business, what are the primary associations (phrases, photos, and ideas) that come spontaneously to your thoughts?’ in a free affiliation process.
For this process, folks clearly had a detrimental notion of processed meals. The most typical associations to processed meals have been ‘comfort meals’ (18.7%), ‘unhealthy’ (16.5%), and ‘components’ (10.4%), in contrast with the far much less frequent ‘unspecific constructive evaluations’ (3.0%) or ‘wholesome’ (0.4%).
They have been then requested how constructive or detrimental their emotions have been about ‘meals processed by the meals business’ on an 11-point Likert scale of 5 to -5.
Lastly, they got pictures of 27 meals merchandise and have been requested how wholesome and processed they thought of them, on a sliding scale of 1-100. Model names have been eliminated.
These perceptions of healthiness and processing degree have been in contrast with the product scores for well being with Nutri-Rating and for processing with the NOVA system.
Notably, meals with a NOVA classification of 1 have been probably the most steadily perceived as wholesome, with meals that had a NOVA classification of 4 most perceived as unhealthy.
Additionally notable was that shopper perceptions of healthiness usually aligned with the product’s Nutri-Rating ranking, and their perceptions of ranges of processing usually aligned with its NOVA rating. Client instincts on this stuff have been, due to this fact, typically proper.
“The NOVA system completely mirrors lay folks’s notion of meals processing,” stated Michael Siegrist, one of many authors of the paper.
Issues with NOVA
NOVA isn’t with out its critics. Amongst these critics is Siegrist.
“The Nova system claims to concentrate on processing,” he informed FoodNavigator, “nevertheless it doesn’t concentrate on processing in any respect, solely on substances.
“The system guarantees one thing that it fails to ship. The NOVA system isn’t a scientifically primarily based classification system.
“A serious weak spot of the NOVA classification is the shortage of readability as to which class meals belong to. Subsequently, many merchandise haven’t been categorized uniformly in previous research. And for customers, the NOVA system is of no assist, as a result of all merchandise in some meals classes shall be categorized as UPF.”
NOVA tells us loads about substances, he instructed, however not a lot about weight-reduction plan, about easy methods to eat. “It doesn’t make sense to categorise meals as wholesome or unhealthy. There are wholesome and unhealthy diets, nevertheless.
“There are numerous meals that ought to solely be consumed moderately in a nutritious diet. Additionally it is attainable, nevertheless, to eat solely “wholesome“ meals in accordance with NOVA, however to have a really unhealthy weight-reduction plan! There isn’t any doubt that most individuals ought to eat extra veggies and fruits for a nutritious diet. Blaming meals to be UPF won’t end in such a desired shift, nevertheless.”
The NOVA system, Siegrist instructed, might in its simplicity and inflexibility result in authorities and business inaction on enhancing the dietary content material of meals. “Truthfully, I don’t assume that NOVA may have a robust affect on customers consuming behaviour,” he informed us, “however I’m afraid that it’d end in dangerous governmental selections and it could cut back business’s makes an attempt to enhance the formulation of their meals merchandise.
“They’ll obtain a greater classification inside Nutri-Rating, however not inside NOVA. In NOVA all UPFs are equally dangerous.
“Why enhance something then?”
Sourced From: Meals High quality and Choice
‘Perceived diploma of meals processing as a cue for perceived healthiness: The NOVA system mirrors customers’ perceptions ’
Printed on: August 2023
Authors: A. Hassig, C. Hartmann, L. Sanchez-Siles, M. Siegrist