Are diets healthier when they contain branded foods?

W.E. Waterlander, M. van Kouwen, I.H.M. Steenhuis

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose - Market trend data show a growing popularity of discount food stores and of cheaper food products as opposed to more expensive leading brands (LB). Unexpectedly little is known about how these economic food choices affect diet quality and/or health. The purpose of this paper is to examine differences in nutrient content and cost of daily food intake data modeled to contain food exclusively from either LB, generic brands (GB) or discount brands (DB). Design/methodology/approach - This study analyzed nutrition information of 430 food products that were selected based on dietary intake data from a sub-sample of the Amsterdam Growth and Health Longitudinal Study. Data were collected in Dutch supermarkets, where information was copied from back-of-pack nutrition tables. Findings - Results showed that there were no statistically significant differences between the LB, GB or DB daily intake models in energy (kJ), protein, carbohydrates, total fat, saturated fatty acids, fiber or added sugar contents. However, there were significant differences in sodium content where LB had significant less sodium compared to GB and DB. Also, there were significant price differences: LB vs GBþh2.75/day; LB vs DBþh7.17/day; GB vs DBþh4.42/day. Originality/value - To the knowledge, this is the first study analyzing differences in nutrient content and price of leading, generic and discount food brand formats on a diet level. The analysis revealed that there is little reason to suggest that dietary nutrient quality is negatively affected by an increased consumption of DB products. Indeed, the substantial price difference between leading and DB suggests that discount products provide a reasonable alternative to LB.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1522-1532
JournalBritish Food Journal
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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