Comparing how Canadian packaged food products align with the 2007 and 2019 versions of Canada’s Food Guide

Christine Mulligan, Beatriz Franco-Arellano, Mavra Ahmed, Laura Vergeer, Kacie Dickinson, Mary R. L’abbé

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


In 2019, Canada’s Food Guide (CFG) was updated from the 2007 version. This study developed a food-based nutrient profile model (NPM) to evaluate the alignment of packaged food and beverage products with CFG 2019 and compared it with CFG 2007. Packaged products from the University of Toronto’s Food Label Information Program 2017 database were evaluated in terms of their alignment with CFG 2007 (using the Health Canada Surveillance Tool (HCST)) and CFG 2019 (using our newly developed CFG 2019 NPM). Agreement in alignment (e.g., products “in line” according to CFG 2019 NPM and in Tiers 1 or 2 according to the HCST) was calculated and differences in alignment and reasons for differences were quantified and described. Overall agreement in product alignment between CFG 2007 and 2019 was 81.9%, with fewer products aligned with CFG 2019: 16.4% vs. 31.8%, (v2 = 189.12, p < 0.001). Differences in alignment varied across food categories (0.0–73.8%), explained by differences in CFG 2019, reflected in the CFG 2019 NPM (e.g., emphasis on avoiding processed foods, encouraging whole grains and low-fat dairy). This study presents a first step in assessing packaged foods’ alignment with CFG 2019; future work is needed to evaluate broader dietary adherence to the updated recommendations. Novelty: A food-based nutrient profile model was developed based on the 2019 CFG and tested on packaged foods by comparing it with the nutrient-based HCST, based on CFG 2007. Most (82%) packaged products were “not in line” with either CFG version.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)934-944
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • Canada
  • Dietary guidance
  • Food guide
  • Food-based dietary guidelines
  • Nutrient composition
  • Nutrient profiling
  • Nutrition policy
  • Packaged foods and beverages


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