2014 Study Abstract
Changing regulatory approaches to fortification in Canada have enabled the expansion of the novel beverage market, but the nutritional implications of these new products are poorly understood. This study assessed the micronutrient composition of energy drinks, vitamin waters, and novel juices sold in Canadian supermarkets, and critically examined their on-package marketing at 2 time points: 2010-2011, when they were regulated as Natural Health Products, and 2014, when they fell under food regulations. We examined changes in micronutrient composition and on-package marketing among a sample of novel beverages (n = 46) over time, compared micronutrient content with Dietary Reference Intakes and the results of the 2004 Canadian Community Health Survey to assess potential benefits, and conducted a content analysis of product labels. The median number of nutrients per product was 4.5, with vitamins B6, B12, C, and niacin most commonly added. Almost every beverage provided at least 1 nutrient in excess of requirements, and most contained 3 or more nutrients at such levels. With the exception of vitamin C, there was no discernible prevalence of inadequacy among young Canadian adults for the nutrients. Product labels promoted performance and emotional benefits related to nutrient formulations that go beyond conventional nutritional science. Label graphics continued to communicate these attributes even after reformatting to comply with food regulations. In contrast with the on-package marketing of novel beverages, there is little evidence that consumers stand to benefit from the micronutrients most commonly found in these products..