Food Environments Product properties

Growth in retail value (total sales) of ultra-processed food sales, 1 year


Percent change in sales of ultra-processed foods over a 1 year period. Ultra-processed foods are defined as foods made of mostly industrial ingredients and additives with minimal amounts of unprocessed foods. These additives are not naturally occurring in the food, but are added in the processing phase to increase palatability and shelf-life. Source: Monteiro et al. 2018. Examples of ultra-processed foods include sweet and savoury snacks, instant noodles, confectionery, meat substitutes, and soft drinks, among others.


Ultra-processed foods are typically produced by transnational food corporations, are highly profitable, and are desirable to people. Ultra-processed foods are typically energy dense, and unless they are fortified, they typically have limited nutritional value beyond calories. They are often high in added sugar, salt, and fat. Evidence has linked consumption of ultra-processed foods to overweight/obesity and noncommunicable diseases (Monteiro et al. 2018).

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