| Food Composition Data: A User's Perspective (1987) |
|The uses of food composition data|
|Nutrient composition data uses and needs of food companies|
Uses of food composition data
The need for and use of food composition data by food companies varies according to the type of food product. A great influence on these needs and uses is the type of market in which the products are sold. Those that are advertised as nutritional products or are aimed at nutrition-oriented markets will have a greater need for nutrient composition data than commodity-type products; they will require nutrition support data to validate claims and demonstrate nutritional superiority. Nutrition data may, however, add little or nothing to a company's ability to sell their product and, therefore, be seen as a minor concern. The degree of control that a food company exercises over the composition will influence the need for and use of food composition data. The ability to use nutrient data to increase the sales and acceptance of a product is important to its use in any open market system.
New Processed Food Product Development
Food composition data in ingredients is used to identify the nutrient content of food products under development. The objective may be simply to understand their nutrient composition, or to identify differences from existing products.
The data are used to formulate products to meet specific nutrient composition needs during product development. These types of products are usually designed for specific population segments and nutritional requirements.
Nutrient composition data is also used to identify nutrients that may need to be added to a food product. Nutrient fortification may be targeted to achieve a specific nutrient content or to match the nutrients of an existing competitive food. Final product composition will be confirmed and adjusted after analysis of the product.
Medical and Pharmaceutical Foods
Medical and pharmaceutical types of foods include infant formulas, nutritional supplements, ethical feeding products, and prepared foods with defined compositions for institutional feeding. Special diet preparations which aid in the treatment of specific diseases also require extensive use of food composition data.
This area of food product use and development is more critically based on nutrient composition than that of many other food products. Complete meals or food supplements require accurate and complete data on nutrient content. Menu planning in hospitals and institutions requires complete nutrient data, and the menus must be fully evaluated since the patients are limited in their food selection. The final nutrient composition of the products is usually based on actual analyses rather than calculated values.
A number of specific weight-control and weight-loss food products use food composition data to ensure nutrient adequacy. These types of products and programmes increase the need for accurate nutrient information, since the number of foods consumed is limited and can easily result in nutrient deficiencies.