Appendix 1: Precisions and examples of ultra-processed foods according to the NOVA classification
All food and beverage items of the NutriNet-Santé composition table were categorized by a team of three
trained dieticians into one of the four food groups in NOVA, a food classification system based on the extent
and purpose of industrial food processing 1-3. The whole classification was then reviewed by a committee
composed of the three dietitians and five researchers, specialists in nutritional epidemiology. In case of
uncertainty for a given food/beverage item, a consensus was reached among researchers based on the
percentage of home-made and artisanal foods versus industrial brands reported by the participants.
The “ultra-processed foods” group of the NOVA classification is the primarily focus of this study. Examples
of such products as well as examples of distinctions between ultra-processed products and products from
other NOVA categories are provided below:
Examples of ultra-processed food according to the NOVA classification:
Carbonated drinks; sweet or savoury packaged snacks; ice-cream, chocolate, candies (confectionery);
mass-produced packaged breads and buns; margarines and spreads; industrial cookies (biscuits), pastries,
cakes, and cake mixes; breakfast ‘cereals’, ‘cereal’ and ‘energy’ bars; ‘energy’ drinks; flavoured milk
drinks; cocoa drinks; sweet desserts made from fruit with added sugars, artificial flavours and texturizing
agents; cooked seasoned vegetables with ready-made sauces; meat and chicken extracts and ‘instant’
sauces; ‘health’ and ‘slimming’ products such as powdered or ‘fortified’ meal and dish substitutes; ready to
heat products including pre-prepared pies, pasta and pizza dishes; poultry and fish ‘nuggets’ and ‘sticks’,
sausages, burgers, hot dogs, and other reconstituted meat products, and powdered and packaged ‘instant’
soups, noodles and desserts.
For instance, fruit compotes with only added sugar are considered as “processed foods”, while flavoured
fruit desserts with added sugar, texturizing agents and colorants are considered as “ultra-processed foods”.
Regarding meats, salted-only red or white meats are considered as “processed foods” whereas smoked or
cured meats with added nitrites and conservatives, such as sausages and ham are classified as “ultraprocessed
Similarly, canned salted vegetables are considered as “processed foods” whereas industrial cooked or fried
seasoned vegetables, marinated in industrial sauces with added flavourings are considered as “ultraprocessed
Example of list of ingredients for an industrial Chicken and Leek flavour soup considered as “ultraprocessed”
according to the NOVA classification: “Dried Glucose Syrup, Potato Starch, Flavourings, Salt,
Leek Powder (3.6%), Dried Leek (3.5%), Onion Powder, Dried Carrot, Palm Oil, Dried Chicken (0.7%),
Garlic Powder, Dried Parsley, Colour [Curcumin (contains MILK)], Ground Black Pepper, MILK Protein,
Stabilisers (Dipotassium Phosphate, Trisodium Citrate)”.