Table 3

Percentage of total energy intake according to NOVA food groups across quintiles of the dietary share of ultra-processed foods (Australian population aged 2+years (NNPAS 2011–2012) (n = 12 153))

NOVA food groupsQuintiles of the dietary contribution of ultra-processed foods (% of total dietary energy)†
Q1Q2Q3Q4Q5
Unprocessed or minimally processed foods54.843.336.027.615.3*
 Red meat and poultry12.210.08.36.43.4*
 Milk and plain yoghurt7.77.76.96.34.2*
 Cereal grains and flours12.07.35.43.61.2*
 Fruits‡7.15.85.24.12.4*
 Vegetables4.33.42.92.01.2*
 Pasta3.03.02.51.80.9*
 Nuts and seeds2.51.30.80.40.2*
 Potatoes and other tubers and roots1.51.51.31.10.6*
 Eggs1.41.21.00.90.5*
 Fish1.61.10.70.50.3*
 Legumes0.90.60.50.30.2*
 Other§0.70.50.40.30.2*
Processed culinary ingredients9.78.47.15.43.1*
 Plant oils5.03.73.22.21.1*
 Animal fats2.32.31.91.60.8*
 Table sugar1.92.01.71.41.0*
 Other¶0.50.40.30.20.1*
Processed foods22.719.816.512.97.1*
 Processed breads9.08.17.16.13.6*
 Beer and wine6.84.83.51.90.8*
 Cheese3.03.22.82.51.5*
 Bacon and other salted, smoked or canned meat or fish1.61.51.31.00.5*
 Vegetables and other plant foods preserved in brine0.70.40.50.50.2*
 Others**1.61.61.30.90.6*
Ultra-processed foods12.828.440.454.174.5*
 Mass-produced packaged breads1.63.85.16.17.3*
 Frozen and shelf stable ready meals††0.41.42.75.18.7*
 Fast foods dishes‡‡0.10.61.34.011.4*
 Pastries, buns and cakes0.62.23.54.75.6*
 Breakfast cereals1.43.14.04.03.6*
 Biscuits1.12.33.24.04.7*
 Fruit drinks and iced teas1.12.33.13.94.8*
 Confectionery0.92.23.03.54.7*
 Sausage and other reconstituted meat products0.91.62.43.33.9*
 Carbonated soft drinks0.41.11.82.64.6*
 Milk-based drinks0.91.62.02.73.5*
 Sauces, dressing and gravies1.11.91.92.21.9*
 Salty snacks0.30.71.62.33.1*
 Ice cream, ice pops and frozen yoghurts0.31.11.92.32.6*
 Margarine and other spreads0.91.41.51.71.5*
 Alcoholic distilled drinks0.10.30.30.61.2*
 Other§§0.50.81.10.81.3*
 Total100.0100.0100.0100.0100.0
  • *p<0.05 for linear trend across quintiles of dietary share of ultra-processed foods.

  • †Percentage of total energy intake from ultra-processed foods. Mean (range): Q1= 12.8 (0 to 21.8); Q2= 28.4 (21.8 to 34.6); Q3= 40.4 (34.6 to 46.6); Q4= 54.1 (46.6 to 62.1); Q5= 74.5 (62.1 to 100).

  • ‡Including freshly squeezed juices.

  • §Including meat from other animals, teas, coffees and dried spices.

  • ¶Including honey, maple syrup (100%) and vinegar.

  • **Including salted or sugared nuts, seeds and dried fruits.

  • ††Including frozen lasagna, pizza and other pastas and meals, and instant soups and noodles.

  • ‡‡Including hamburger, pizza and French fries from fast food places.

  • §§Including ultra-processed cheese, baby food and baby formula.

  • NNPAS, National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey.