Policy Research for Front of Package Nutrition Labeling: Developing and Testing a Summary System Algorithm. 4.1.3 Scoring and Ranking of Foods


To examine the scores and rankings of foods across and within food groupings, we initially proposed to select 300 of the most commonly consumed foods from the most recent NHANES survey. After discussion with the ASPE/FDA team, we increased the number of foods to 500 to ensure more foods from all major food categories were represented. In addition, ASPE/FDA requested several other foods, such that the total number of foods was 570.1 For each algorithm, we calculated an overall mean score across the 570 foods and mean scores for each of nine major USDA food groupings: (1) dairy; (2) meat, poultry, and fish (MPF); (3) eggs; (4) legume and nuts; (5) grain products; (6) fruits; (7) vegetables; (8) fats, oils, and dressings; and (9) sweets and beverages. Some groups were broken down further into subgroupings to allow for more detailed comparisons of similar foods within a grouping. For example, the grain products group includes a variety of types of foods such as breads, quickbreads, cakes, cereals, salty snacks, and mixed foods, all having a grain as a major component. The scores of these foods were provided to ASPE in separate Microsoft Excel workbooks for each algorithm. In this report, summary figures (box plots) provide the mean scores and distribution of scores for food groups for selected algorithms. Box plots for additional algorithm modifications are found in Appendix F.

We examined the rankings and distributions of scores for foods and food groups, as discussed in Section 4.2, but we did not conduct formal validity tests focused on the food scores themselves.