Consumption of ultra-processed foods in Norway – an investigation of food sales in 2013 and 2019: A repeated cross-sectional analysis
MetadataShow full item record
Introduction: The obesogenic nature of the food system is increasingly linked with the high prevalence of chronic diseases observed globally. Also, in Norway, chronic diseases contribute to most death and disease. Several studies have found consumption of (highly) processed foods to be associated with a poorer diet quality and development in disease. Purpose: To investigate the shares of purchases and expenditures of ultra-processed foods in Norway in September 2019 and investigate changes in shares since 2013. Methods: A quantitative approach and a repeated cross-sectional research design were used to investigate food sales data from the Consumer Price Index in a nationally representative sample of Norwegian grocery stores in September 2013 and September 2019. The NOVA classification system was applied to investigate the degree and purpose of food processing on products in online grocery stores. Results: There was a statistically significant change in the share of purchases (X2 (4, N= 28941760,30) = 33626, p<0.001) and expenditures (X2 (4, N= 766 023 584,99) = 21217337, p<0.001) on NOVA groups between 2013 and 2019. Effect sizes were weak (Cramer’s V<0.100). Overall, a reduction was observed in shares of purchase and expenditure of minimally processed foods and a slight increase in the shares of purchases and expenditures of ultra-processed foods. This finding was consistently demonstrated by examining the distribution of NOVA groups within food groups, in the store profiles, and geographically in Norway. Conclusion: The results indicate a high consumption of ultra-processed food in Norway. Between 2013 and 2019, an overall shift from minimally processed foods to ultra-processed alternatives has been observed.