What do you think of ultra-processed foods? Carol Ryan reports that it appears to be polyglycerol polyricinoleate in Hershey’s chocolate, tripotassium phosphate in Cheerios, or more broadly a protein isolate or emulsifier “not normally found in home kitchens.” ing. wall street journal. “Increased scrutiny of unique ingredients in popular snack foods could be bad news for their manufacturers.”
Evaluating foods based on their ingredients and salt, sugar, and fat content to determine whether they are “ultra-processed” is “a method of classifying foods called Nova, which was introduced in Brazil more than a decade ago.” Ryan explains that it comes from. “This is also a new way of thinking about diet. Nova groups foods based on how intensively they have been processed. Some scientists believe that the industrial processing of foods is itself harmful. We believe that this may encourage overeating.”
Although Nova’s evidence is controversial, it is being taken seriously, including at the policy level. The US government plans to issue new dietary advice to Americans in 2025 as part of a five-year review. “We plan to give it to you,” Ryan reported. “For the first time, federal researchers and health experts will examine the link between ultra-processed foods and obesity risk. A scientific report is expected to be released this year.”
Meanwhile, major food companies are monitoring the debate, which could result in lower profits.
“Ultra-processed snacks and meals are extremely profitable. Over the past five years, the average operating profit margin for major processed food companies such as Kraft Heinz, General Mills, and Nestlé has been 1.7 billion,” according to FactSet data. %,” Ryan wrote. “Products that fall under Nova’s UPF category make up approximately 57% of the average diet in the US and UK, and an even larger proportion for children.”
Some ingredients in processed foods exist to extend the food’s shelf life, prevent waste, or reduce costs. According to Barclays’ analysis, “products containing the most common preservatives, emulsifiers and sweetener additives were 5% cheaper than the average for their category,” Ryan reports. “Even foods targeted at health-conscious consumers, such as oat milk and plant-based meats, can be heavily processed as manufacturers seek to mimic the taste, texture, and smell of animal products. ”
Rural Blog is a publication of the University of Kentucky’s Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Affairs.