Thursday, July 7

Nutritional Profiles: This is how the healthiest foods are created

The conscience for good nutrition grows every day. Rates of overweight and obesity have become a common problem, an epidemic that surrounds us, and what we eat is directly responsible for it. Healthy eating is the key to avoid it, basic to guarantee our health, and food companies are working on it. This is helped by the Nutri-Score labeling, the ‘nutritional traffic light’, but above all the creation of Nutritional Profile Models.

Surely you have already seen it in a multitude of containers. The Nutri-Score is that nutritional labeling system that companies can establish voluntarily and that many countries of the European Union promote so that consumers know, at a glance, the nutritional information of each product. Thus, and by means of a color code and letters that go from green A, the healthiest, to red E, the least healthy, we can know the nutritional characteristics of the food that we are about to buy.

Nutri-Score takes into account both the positive nutritional contributions, with ingredients such as fruits, vegetables, fibers and proteins, as well as the negative ones, where the calories, saturated fats, sugars and salt are found, for every 100 g or 100 ml of product. So when we can compare products of the same category, adhered to the same labeling system, it is easier for us to choose and take home the most beneficial option for our health.

Brands that join the ‘nutritional traffic light’ are committed to showing the quality of their products, in such a way that they exercise transparency and open up to consumers so that they know what they are ingesting at all times. And the big food companies, which feed millions of people in the world, know it.

One step further: a proprietary nutritional profiling method

Nutri-Score can serve as an orientation reference to compare products, but specialists believe that it can go a step further. According to Elena Garea, Director of Nutrition and Health at Pascual, “There is no universal ‘best’ concept in the world of food. We have chosen to have our own method for profiling our products, which we consider to be more complete. We use Nutri-Score as one more variable in this methodology and we incorporate it into our products because we believe that it is an objective and independent system, with a solid scientific base whose objective is to facilitate the consumer’s purchase decision ”. But in Pascual they have chosen to follow the WHO recommendations in response to the global epidemic of overweight and obesity that we see every day and define an optimal Nutritional Profile for each of their products, which allows them to fulfill their commitments to well-being and people’s health.

For this, in Pascual they have gone further and developed a Nutritional Profiles Model specific and thanks to it they can categorize all their products based on their nutritional composition. “Among our wide range of products,” explains Garea, “we make foods with a high nutritional density available to our consumers and that entails a commitment to nutrition that we must protect and ensure. Throughout this year and after analyzing in depth the different models of known nutritional profiles from the United Kingdom, the United States, France, etc., an ambitious, complete model has been developed with useful applications both for the company. as for the consumer ”.

But … How do you obtain nutritional profiles adapted to each segment of the population?

Having its own Nutritional Profiles Model allows us to offer healthy products aimed at different population segments. Pascual has already applied this methodology to 23 commercial categories and 65 of their references, which according to Garea “requires constant and transversal research”.

With this Model, Pascual aspires to have products with the most balanced nutritional composition on the market, adapting all its product categories to the real nutritional needs of each segment of the population to which they are directed. To achieve this, it has followed a five-step process that goes from the analysis of each of its products to the definition of the nutritional profile of the product in question:

  1. How is the product and what is its category. A critical step, since each food is analyzed here to know its nutrients after consumption, taking into account when and how it is ingested. Is it milk? Yogurt? Does it carry fruit? Do you have breakfast? Or maybe a snack? The variables are numerous.
  2. Know the nutritional needs of the people to whom it is directed. Population groups can differ greatly from one another, and each has different nutritional needs. We found five main ones: children, adolescents, young adults, adults and the elderly population; but also specific subgroups, such as pregnant women, menopausal women, vegans or athletes. Each consumer has specific characteristics and specific daily nutritional requirements.
  3. Differentiate the relevant nutrients. Knowing the population group to which the food is directed, the key nutrients to limit, such as saturated fats, added sugars or salt, or to favor, such as protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, are identified, in order to generate a positive impact on the diet of consumers.
  4. Nutri-Score assessment. With the product already well defined and adapted to the needs of the customers, the Nutri-Score of the product is identified to accurately calibrate its nutritional profile.
  5. Definitive nutritional profile. With all this information, knowing the characteristics of the product, having defined the nutritional needs of its consumers, differentiated its most relevant nutrients and identified its Nutri-Score assessment, finally Pascual can define the nutritional profile of each of its products to get it right and meet the needs of each person. And so, between its nutritionally balanced products and our choice as consumers who know what they are eating, we fight against obesity, overweight and health problems.

As the director of Nutrition and Health of Pascual concludes, “We have detected the need for food companies to be proactive and take responsibility for promoting healthier and more nutritious food through our products and services. Pascual has in his DNA improve people’s quality of life, our ambition is to become a benchmark as a healthy company focused on people’s well-being ”.