Composition claim, nutrition claim and health claim are often found on the commercial complementary food packaging. The introduction of complementary foods (CFs) to infants is a turning point in the development of their eating behavior, and their commercial use for Taiwanese infants is growing. In Taiwan, lots of the advertisements for CFs employed health or nutrition claims to promote the products, but the actual nutritional content of these CFs is not clear. The aim of this study was to compare the food claims of commercial complementary food products with their actual nutrition facts. A sample of 363 commercial CFs was collected from websites, local supermarkets, and other food stores, and their nutrition-related claims were classified into composition, nutrition, and health categories. Although the World Health Organization recommends that infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months, 48.2% of the commercial CFs were targeted at infants younger than 6 months. Therefore, marketing regulations should be implemented to curb early weaning as a result of products targeted at infants younger than 6 months. More than 50% of Taiwanese commercial CFs have high sugar content and more than 20% were high in sodium. Products with health claims, such as “provides good nutrition to children” or “improves appetite,” have higher sodium or sugar content than do those without such claims. Moreover, products with calcium or iron content claims did not contain more calcium or iron than products without such claims. Additionally, a significantly greater proportion of the products with “no added sugar” claims were classified as having high sugar content as compared to those without such claims. Parents cannot choose the healthiest food products for their children by simply focusing on food claims. Government should regulate the labeling of nutrition facts and food claims for foods targeted at infants younger than 12 months.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)