Table_1_Comparison of the Nutritional Quality of Branded and Private-Label Food Products Sold in Italy: Focus on the Cereal-Based Products Collected From the Food Labeling of Italian Products Study.docx
The packaged foods sold in food stores may be “private-label” products (PL), when branded by the supermarket, and “branded” products (BR). PL products are generally cheaper than the BR counterparts, and this can be perceived as a sign of general low quality by consumers, when items are compared with their branded counterparts. Thus, the aim of the present study was to compare the nutrient content of BR and PL cereal-based foods, by evaluating the nutritional declaration reported on the food pack of products on the home-shopping website of major retailers present on the Italian market. A total of 3,775 items (~58% BR and ~42% PL), collected in the period from July 2018 to March 2019 and updated in March 2020, were included in the final analysis. Data were analyzed by means of the Mann–Whitney nonparametric test for two independent samples for differences between BR and PL categories and types. Overall, BR products showed higher contents of total and saturates than PL items. When products were grouped for categories and types, items only differed for the content of total fats, saturates, total carbohydrates, proteins, and salt. No differences were instead found for energy and sugar contents among any of the categories. However, we did not find any consistency in the direction of results. These results could be useful for future education activities aimed to help consumers in making informed food choices.