Are cereal bars significantly healthier and more natural than chocolate bars? A preliminary assessment in the German market

Michelle Klerks, Sergio Román, Ruud Verkerk, Luisma Sanchez-Siles*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The main aim of the current study was to examine and compare the nutritional quality and degree of naturalness of chocolate and cereal bars. Our analysis relied on a dataset (n = 100) of the most consumed chocolate and cereal bars in Germany in 2019. The Nutri-Score and the Food Naturalness Index were calculated to measure nutritional quality and naturalness of the bars, respectively. Cereal bars were nutritionally better and slightly more natural, but had longer ingredient lists, as compared to chocolate bars. Nutritional quality and food naturalness were only weakly correlated, which suggests that they are two distinct food characteristics. Despite increased criticism regarding the effects of ultra-processed foods on health, our results suggest that not all ultra-processed foods are necessarily unhealthy. Although there is plenty of room for improvement in the formulation of cereal bars, they have the potential to be a healthier and more natural alternative to chocolate bars.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104940
JournalJournal of Functional Foods
Volume89
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022

Keywords

  • FNI
  • Food naturalness
  • Nutri-Score
  • Nutritional quality
  • Snack bars

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