Nutritional composition of ultra-processed plant-based foods in the out-of-home environment: a multi-country survey with plant-based burgers

R. E. Vellinga, H. L. Rippin, G. B. Gonzales, E. H. M. Temme, C. Farrand, A. Halloran, B. Clough, K. Wickramasinghe, M. Santos, T. Fontes, M. J. Pires, A. C. Nascimento, S. Santiago, H. E. Burt, M. K. Brown, H. K. Jenner, R. Alessandrini, A. M. Marczak, R. Flore, Y. SunC. Motta

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Ultra-processed plant-based foods, such as plant-based burgers have gained in popularity. Particularly in the out-of-home (OOH) environment, evidence regarding their nutritional profile and environmental sustainability is still evolving. Plant-based burgers available at selected OOH sites were randomly sampled in cities of four WHO European Member States; Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Lisbon, and London. Plant-based burgers (patty, bread and condiment) (n=41) were lab-analysed for their energy, macronutrients, amino acids, and minerals content per 100g and serving, and were compared with reference values. For the plant-based burgers, the median values per 100g were: 234 kcal, 20.8g carbohydrates, 3.5g dietary fibre, and 12.0g fat, including 0.08g TFA and 2.2g SFA. Protein content was 8.9g/100g, with low protein quality according to amino acid composition. Median sodium content was 389mg/100g, equivalent to 1g salt. Compared with references, the median serving of plant-based burgers provided 31% of energy intake based on a 2,000 kcal per day, and contributed to carbohydrates(17-28%), dietary fibre(42%), protein(40%), total fat(48%), SFA(26%), and sodium(54%). One serving provided 15-23% of the reference values for calcium, potassium, and magnesium, while higher contributions were found for zinc(30%), manganese(38%), phosphorus(51%), and iron(67%). The ultra-processed plant-based burgers, provide protein, dietary fibre and essential minerals, but also contain relatively high levels of energy, sodium, and total fats. The amino acid composition of the plant-based burgers indicated low protein quality. The multifaceted nutritional profile of plant-based burgers highlights the need for manufacturers to implement improvements to better support healthy dietary habits. These improvements should include reducing energy, sodium and total fats.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


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