OBJECTIVE: To develop nutrition criteria consistent with Australian dietary guidelines encouraging fruit and vegetable consumption for branding recipes with the Go for 2&5 campaign message.
DESIGN: Dietary policies, guidelines, food selection guides, nutrient targets, existing consumer education programs' nutrition criteria, food habits, and eating styles were reviewed to develop nutrition criteria, which were then used to assess 128 recipes.
SETTING: Perth, Australia.
ANALYSIS: Recipes were analyzed then assessed against criteria for fat, sodium, fiber, energy, added sugar, fruit, vegetables, cereal, and dairy content/per serving.
RESULTS: Recipe nutrition criteria were devised, and 128 contemporary industry recipes were evaluated according to developed nutrition criteria. Recipe categories included main meals; light meals (includes breakfast); soups; salads; side dishes; snacks (includes drinks); desserts; bakery; and basic ingredients (eg, stocks, dips, and sauces). Nearly three quarters failed. Excess fat (45%) and sodium (30%) and inadequate cereal (24%) were the main reasons. Only minor modifications were required to meet criteria.
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: "Healthful" recipes promoting fruits and vegetables were often high in fat and sodium and low in cereal content. Nutrition criteria developed for this study provided a practical way of assessing specific meals and snacks according to the dietary guidelines, making them suitable for nutrition promotions.