Journal Articles and Reports

DIET programme output

The nutritional composition of foods and beverages consumed away from the home has important implications for population health. Our objective was to determine if the serve size, energy, and sodium contents of fast foods sold at chain restaurants in New Zealand (NZ) changed between 2012 and 2016.

The current study utilized branded food composition databases from Australia, Mexico, New Zealand and the US to determine the percentage of processed food and beverage products for which there are nutrition data containing NNS and to compare total sugar density (g per 100 mL for beverages and g per 100 g for foods) between products with and without NNS.
Kids’Cam was a cross-sectional study of 168 children in Wellington. Each child wore a wearable camera on four consecutive days, capturing images automatically every seven seconds. Images were manually coded as either recommended (core) or not recommended (non-core) to be marketed to children by setting, marketing medium, and product category.

Interpretive, front-of-pack (FOP) nutrition labels may encourage reformulation of packaged foods. We aimed to evaluate the effects of the Health Star Rating (HSR), a new voluntary interpretive FOP labelling system, on food reformulation in New Zealand.

We aimed to evaluate the effects of 2 interpretive nutrition labels compared with a noninterpretive label on consumer food purchases.

Delivery of interventions via smartphone is a relatively new initiative in public health, and limited evidence exists regarding optimal strategies for recruitment. We describe the effectiveness of approaches used to recruit participants to a smartphone-enabled nutrition intervention trial.

Click here to view the protocol.

The Price ExaM study aims to derive accurate and precise food PE values, quantify the impact of price changes on quantity and quality of discrete food group purchases and model the potential health and disease impacts of a range of food taxes and subsidies.

This study sought to develop a sodium reduction model to determine the reductions required in the sodium content of packaged foods and other dietary sources of sodium to reduce adult population salt intake by ~ 30% toward the optimal WHO target of 5 g/d.

The aim of this study was to compare estimates of nutrient exposure from a store survey of packaged food with those from household panel food purchases.

This study aimed to identify health gain and cost impacts of achieving national targets for sodium reduction by using an established dietary sodium intervention model to study 10 interventions designed to meet the targets.

The Food Label Trial (FLT) smartphone app is one of the first apps to enable conduct of fully automated, randomised controlled trials, including remote delivery of intervention, and collection of individual-level data on food purchases. This paper describes the development and functionality of the FLT app which was used for two trials (in NZ and Australia), provides an overview of the end product, and reports preliminary usage statistics and common technical issues.

Interpretive front-of-pack nutrition labels are better understood than non-interpretive labels. However, robust evidence on the effects of such labels on consumer food purchases in the real-world is lacking. The aim of this trial is to assess the effects of two interpretive front-of-pack nutrition labels, compared with a non-interpretive label, on the healthiness of consumer food purchases.

Since 2011, The National Institute for Health Innovation (NIHI) at the University of Auckland has been undertaking annual systematic surveys of the nutrient composition of packaged foods available in New Zealand supermarkets and fast food restaurants (the Nutritrack database). NIHI recently combined Nielsen Homescan® and Nutritrack data to (1) assess population exposure to sodium, saturated fat, and sugar in New Zealand, and (2) identify key opportunities for reformulation of processed foods with the largest potential population health benefits.

Other related DIET team research


Reducing salt intake is a cost-effective public health intervention to reduce the global burden of non-communicable disease (NCDs). Ultra-processed foods contribute ~80% of dietary salt in high income countries, and are becoming prominent in low-middle income countries. Instant noodle consumption is particularly high in the Asia Pacific region. The aim of this study was to compare the sodium content of instant noodles sold worldwide to identify potential for reformulation.

SaltSwitch is an innovative smartphone application (app) that enables shoppers to scan the barcode of a packaged food and receive an immediate, interpretive, traffic light nutrition label on the screen, along with suggestions for lower salt alternatives. Our aim was to determine the effectiveness of SaltSwitch to support people with cardiovascular disease to make lower salt food choices.