Food Additives and Cosmetics
Mapping the nutrients, food additives and contaminants found in plant-based and gluten-free food products
Report no: 2023: 25
In this report, the Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food and Environment (VKM) has mapped and compared data on the content of nutrients, food additives, natural toxins, environmental and process-induced contaminants, as well as processing methods in a selection of products.
In recent years, plant-based meat and dairy analogue products, plant-based snacks alternatives to potato chips and nuts, and various types of "free-from" products including gluten-free products, have appeared on the food market. The content of nutrients, food additives and contaminants in these products differs from their animal-derived, potato-based, and gluten-containing counterparts. This is primarily due to differences in the nutritional and contaminant content of the raw materials used, different needs for food additives in the products, and the use of different production methods.
In this report, the Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food and Environment (VKM) has mapped and compared data on the content of nutrients, food additives, natural toxins, environmental and process-induced contaminants, as well as processing methods in a selection of products. In addition, processing methods used in the production of the selected products have been mapped and compared.
In general, differences in content depended on the raw materials used and any fortification of the products. Some contaminants are found in a large variety of raw materials, whereas certain contaminants are typical for certain groups of raw materials. In the data material available to VKM, concentrations of additives and information on contaminants in comparable products were missing. This report cannot be used to conclude on nutritional quality or safety of different diets. It is intended to be a starting point for identifying important factors that should be considered for safe and healthy food when food products and dietary patterns change.