With our complex database linking consumer packaged good (CPG) foods and beverages to Nutrition Facts Panels coupled with longitudinal data monitoring purchases made among a large nationally representative sample of US households between 2000 and 2015, we are uniquely able to study changes in the US food supply. Not only can we monitor shifts in the nutrient content and types of products available, but we can also determine how these shifts impact the overall nutrient profile of the foods and beverages that US households are choosing to purchase. This has allowed us to evaluate the behavior of the US food industry in a variety of ways.

child juice Chris Goldberg
child viewing juice : flickr user Chris Goldberg

This includes creating a systematic approach for estimating added sugar content of CPG foods and beverages and their purchases over time. We are also examining changes in the sodium content of household food and beverage purchases, in order to better understand how voluntary industry initiatives to reduce the sodium content of packaged foods might impact American households.

grocery aisle Daniel Parks
Grocery Selection : flickr user Daniel Parks

In addition, using innovative methods, our team has created a unique factory to fork system which allows us to monitor how product reformulation and the introduction and cessation of sales of the 1.2 million barcoded food products purchased will impact individual dietary intake. We link UPC barcode level nutrition information for the millions of food and beverage products purchased by Americans to USDA food codes used in What We Eat In America (WWEIA-NHANES) in order to create food composition profiles reflective of the actual products available and purchased by US households. This “Crosswalk” project augments national nutrition surveys of dietary intake by creating food composition profiles that capture product-specific, time-varying nutrition information and reflect the vast array of different food and beverage products in the US food supply.

This factory to fork monitoring system will allow us to monitor the dynamics of food reformulations, especially as it related to added sugars, sodium, fats and calories. With this system, our goal is to understand recent shifts in the US food supply and determine how these changes impact dietary intake of Americans with a special focus on sociodemographic disparities in dietary intake.