One of the main objectives of the Eurocode 2 work is to develop effective means of making international comparisons of food consumption data. The review and revision of the Eurocode 2 food coding system is producing a detailed food categorisation system organised into a basic classification hierarchy based on 13 main food groups and approximately 160 subgroups. This gives rise to two areas of difficulty in working with existing national consumption data. Firstly, the data are coded on the basis of national food categorisations which may already be aggregated and which only become comparable on further aggregation to broad groups. Secondly, the current number or coverage of the Eurocode groups and subgroups may not give an optimal matching with, or aggregation of, the existing national data sets. Thus it was suggested at the workshop held by the COST Action 99 - Eurofoods
Working Group on Food Description in December 1999 that a comparison exercise should be carried out using a simplified food grouping, designated the Euro Food Groups (EFG) system.
The proposal at the workshop was based on work presented by Jean-Luc Volatier (CREDOC). He had compared the food groups used in:
- FAO food balance sheets
- WHO regional diets (GEMS food classification)
- Eurocode 2
- the DAFNE project to harmonise European household budget survey data.
From the comparison, he compiled a list of 27 groups which covered most of the main distinctions made at the top level by the systems. DAFNE with 45 groups made more specific distinctions and Eurocode with 13 main groups differentiated some categories at the second, subgroup level.
The list of 27 possible first-level groups was discussed and refined at the workshop, resulting in a set of 33 food groups which were named the Euro Food Groups (EFG).
|Euro Food Groups|
|1.||Bread and Rolls||18.||Fruit juices|
|2.||Breakfast cereals||19.||Non alcoholic beverages|
|3.||Flour||20.||Coffee, tea, cocoa powder|
|6.||Other cereal products||23.||Other alcoholic beverages|
|7.||Sugar||24.||Red meat and meat products|
|8.||Sugar products excluding chocolate||25.||Poultry|
|11.||Margarine (lipids of mixed origin)||28.||Cheese|
|12.||Butter and animal fats||29.||Other milk products|
|14.||Nuts||31.||Fish and seafood|
|15.||Vegetables excluding potatoes||32.||Miscellaneous foods|
|16.||Starchy roots or potatoes||33.||Products for special nutritional use|
It was decided to carry out an exercise in mapping national food consumption surveys to EFG at two levels, namely foods as consumed and at ingredient level. The methodology of this exercise was defined at a NORFOODS meeting held in Uppsala, Sweden, on 15 December 1999.
Further information on the exercise to test the use of EFG in comparing national food consumption data will be reported in due course.
Posted: 10 February 2000