Ultra-Processed Foods

Sinéad Furey, Martin Caraher

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


Foods that are highly processed (ultra-processed foods - UPFs) are increasingly popular among consumers for reasons of affordability and convenience, yet research indicates that that they are detrimental to health and environmental sustainability. Increased consumption of UPFs means that there is an associated decrease in healthy eating practices impacting on the prevalence of obesity in both developed nations and emerging economies – the nutrition transition. Research links UPFs with poor quality diet, micro-nutrient deficiencies and increased risk of some noncommunicable diseases, yet some remain to be convinced. In the future it is likely that product development will seek to reformulate UPFs to increase their nutritional quality while food regulation, obesity prevention strategies and public health messaging should consider recommending limiting UPF consumption (and increasing consumption of minimally processed foods). Whatever action is taken, there is a need to ensure affordable food is accessible to all.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
Specialist publicationElgar Encyclopedia of Food and Society
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 23 Nov 2023


  • Processed
  • NOVA classification
  • nutrition transition
  • health
  • obesity
  • sustainability


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