Description of foods
The names of foods are chosen to describe the food item as appropriate as possible. Sometimes, long descriptions are needed to identify a food and abbreviations may be used in the name. A list with abbreviations and symbols used (both English and Dutch) is available. In NEVO online synonyms are added to the search options, to get better search results (in Dutch only). Proprietary brands are mentioned only when needed to identify the food item and if the information appertains exclusively to that specific brand. The product group in which the foods are assigned is available in the document ‘Foods and food groups’.
Additional information is given on screen by clicking on the food name in NEVO-online. This information may appertain to the brands on which the average value is based, the use of specific cooking fats, a recipe or a fortified food item. Nutrients added by the manufacturer to fortify foods are included here.
Recipes and average foods
For some foods the composition of vitamins and minerals is insufficiently. When possible these foods are included in the database as a ‘recipe’. The composition is calculated based on the known composition of the ingredients. However, recipes vary widely between regions and change over time. Standard recipes from a general cook book (Henderson HHF et al. Het Nieuwe Kookboek, 38e druk, Uitg. Kosmos-Z&K, Utrecht/ Antwerpen. 2008) are used. Several recipes are derived from ingredients on the label of packaged foods in order to estimate the values for micronutrients, as on the label only macronutrients and salt are mentioned.
In NEVO-online the makeup of the recipes is listed as Product details to allow the user to assess the nutritional value in relation to the ingredients.
Averaged foods are included in NEVO. Such foods include, for example, ‘boiled vegetables averaged’, ‘sausages without liver products averaged’, ‘raw beef with <5 g fat averaged’, et cetera. If possible, the selection of ingredients for these averaged foods was derived from the Dutch National Food Consumption Surveys (DNFCS) to account for the number of users and quantities consumed. For some averaged foods data on market shares (based on marketing research data or data from manufactures and trade organisations) is used.
Many fortified varieties of food items are available nowadays. Fortified and non-fortified foods cannot be merged in averaged foods, because of the differing amounts of micronutrients. Furthermore, several brands of the same type of fortified foods cannot be averaged due to fortification with different nutrients and/or with different amounts. This has resulted into more foods published under specific brand names.
The quantities given in NEVO online are total amounts including both naturally occurring and added micronutrients. In some foods, the micronutrients are additives (e.g., β-carotene as colouring agent). The manufacturer does not need to label the use of such additives as fortification, although the content can be elevated compared with foods without such ingredient.
Fortified components are reported per food item. This does not apply to the food group ‘Foods for special nutritional use’, as all vitamins and minerals have been added to these foods. Derived components (e.g., RAE, RE and folate equivalents) are also flagged as fortified if any of the contributing components is fortified; e.g., when folic acid is added, are both folic acid and folate equivalents flagged as fortified.
Since NEVO online 2021 bread with iodized salt is considered as fortified.
The content of some nutrients, for instance vitamins, decreases over time. Manufacturers take this into account by adding a larger amount and indicating on the label the amount that will remain at the expiration date.
If a fortified food is chemically analysed for NEVO, several foods have been mixed in an analytical sample. The contents may then differ from an individual brand product.
Margarine and other edible fats
The average composition of several of types of margarine, low fat margarine, cooking and frying fat is included in NEVO. The average composition is calculated from data on individual brands. The names ‘margarine product’, ‘low-fat margarine product’ and ‘butter product’ are used for foods that strongly resemble margarine, low-fat margarine or butter, but do not meet the requirements of the Netherlands Food and Commodities Act.
Detailed fatty acid composition of margarines, low fat margarines, cooking and frying fats are not published in NEVO-online, due to lack of reliable and up to date information. This also accounts for recipes containing these fat products as ingredient.
For NEVO-online 2023, it’s decided to use label data to estimate the ingredients of the type of margarine that is most often used in the recipes in NEVO. Fatty acid data are available for these ingredients (oil/fats), so that the fatty acid composition can be calculated. The old type of margarine (code 2063) has been replaced in all recipes by a new NEVO code 5562: "Margarine 80% fat >24 g sat fatty acids salted in NEVO recipes". As a result, the extensive fatty acid composition is now available for many recipes such as biscuits and pastries.