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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BHNRC) » Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center » Nutrient Data Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #330553

Research Project: USDA National Nutrient Databank for Food Composition

Location: Nutrient Data Laboratory

Title: A Comparison of Concentrations of Sodium and Related Nutrients (Potassium, Total Dietary Fiber, Total and Saturated Fat, and Total Sugar) in Private-Label and National Brands of Popular, Sodium-Contributing, Commercially Pack

Author
item Ahuja, Jaspreet - US Department Of Agriculture (USDA)
item Pehrsson, Pamela - Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS, USDA)
item Cogswell, Mary - Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDCP) - United States

Submitted to: Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/30/2016
Publication Date: 2/3/2017
Citation: Ahuja, J., Pehrsson, P., Cogswell, M.E. 2017. A Comparison of concentrations of sodium and related nutrients (potassium, total dietary fiber, total and saturated fat, and total sugar) in private-label and national brands of popular, sodium-contributing, commercially pack. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 117(5):770–777.e17.

Interpretive Summary: Private-label brands account for about one in four foods sold in U.S. supermarkets. They provide value to consumers due to their low cost. We know of no U.S. studies comparing the nutrition content of private-label with corresponding national-brand products. The objective of this study was to compare sodium, potassium, total dietary fiber, total and saturated fat, and total sugar content in foods by brand type (national or private-label brand). In 2010-2014, the authors obtained sample units of private-label and national brand products from up to 12 locations nationwide and chemically analyzed 983 composites for sodium and related nutrients. The samples came from 61 sodium-contributing, commercially-packaged food products for which both private-label and national brands were among the top 75-80% of brands for U.S. unit sales. In this post-hoc comparative analysis, the authors assigned a variable brand type (national or private-label) to each composite and determined mean nutrient contents by brand type overall and by food product and type. The authors tested for significant differences (p<0.05) by brand type using independent sample t-tests or Mann-Whitney U tests when appropriate. Overall for all foods sampled, differences between brand types were not statistically significant for any of the nutrients studied. However, differences exist for few individual food products and food categories and occur in both directions. The authors concluded that nutrient concentrations of sodium, potassium, total dietary fiber, total and saturated fat, and total sugar do not differ systematically between private-label and national brands, suggesting that brand type is not a consideration for nutritional quality of foods in the United States. These data provide public health officials with baseline nutrient content by brand type to help focus U.S. sodium-reduction efforts.

Technical Abstract: Private-label brands account for about one in four foods sold in U.S. supermarkets. They provide value to consumers due to their low cost. We know of no U.S. studies comparing the nutrition content of private-label with corresponding national-brand products. The objective of this study was to compare sodium, potassium, total dietary fiber, total and saturated fat, and total sugar content in foods by brand type (national or private-label brand). In 2010-2014, the authors obtained sample units of private-label and national brand products from up to 12 locations nationwide and chemically analyzed 983 composites for sodium and related nutrients. The samples came from 61 sodium-contributing, commercially-packaged food products for which both private-label and national brands were among the top 75-80% of brands for U.S. unit sales. In this post-hoc comparative analysis, the authors assigned a variable brand type (national or private-label) to each composite and determined mean nutrient contents by brand type overall and by food product and type. The authors tested for significant differences (p<0.05) by brand type using independent sample t-tests or Mann-Whitney U tests when appropriate. Overall for all foods sampled, differences between brand types were not statistically significant for any of the nutrients studied. However, differences exist for few individual food products and food categories and occur in both directions. The authors concluded that nutrient concentrations of sodium, potassium, total dietary fiber, total and saturated fat, and total sugar do not differ systematically between private-label and national brands, suggesting that brand type is not a consideration for nutritional quality of foods in the United States. These data provide public health officials with baseline nutrient content by brand type to help focus U.S. sodium-reduction efforts.