Prevalence of environmental certificates in unhealthy foods commercialized in brazilian retail
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State University of Campinas Brazil
Center for Epidemiological Research in Nutrition and Health
Center for Food Studies and Research Brazil
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A195
Background and Objectives:
Environmental certification used by food industries has been increasing aiming to show concern with environmental impact. Consumers’ interest in green products is also increasing. This study aims to analyze the most prevalent environmental certification types on food and beverages packaging marketed on Brazilian retail and analyze their nutritional profile.

The analysis was conducted with 7,726 products founded in Brazilian retail between 2018 and 2021. Data were collected by trained researchers using images from all sides of the package. The products were classified by the NOVA classification in unprocessed and minimally processed foods, culinary ingredients, processed foods and ultra-processed foods. Nutritional profile was analyzed according to Pan-American Health Organization (OPAS). Were calculated the prevalence of types of environmental certificates according to NOVA and the proportion of products with certifications and high in critical nutrients.

A total of 1,753 products had environmental certification on food packaging (22.7%). The most prevalent type was related to conservation of fauna and Flora as the following certifies: FSC Mix, Projeto Tamar, SOS Mata Atlântica, Certified Humane Brasil, Dolphin Safe and Best Aquaculture Practice (45.9%), followed by transgenic certified (33.4%) and organic certified (10.5%). Environmental certifications were more prevalent on ultra-processed foods (81.9%) than processed foods (7.5%), culinary ingredients (2.6%) and unprocessed and minimally processed foods (19.7%). The most frequent certification on ultra-processed foods were related to conservation of fauna and Flora (36.7%), and transgenic (30.9%). Between the products with environmental certifications, 22.8% of the ultra-processed and 19.0% of the processed were high in at least one critical nutrient.

Ultra-processed foods high in at least one critical nutrient showed more environmental certification on their packaging. This fact can cause misunderstanding among consumers who are concerned about environmental issues since ultra-processed foods are unhealthy.

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