Taste profiles of diets high and low on sustainability and health


A shift towards a more healthy and sustainable diet presumably affects the taste and texture of a diet. This study assessed the taste profiles of healthier and more sustainable diets and of less healthy and less sustainable diets in a Dutch population (n=1380), that is the NQplus study.

Subgroups were created on the basis of two indicators; the pReCiPe-score was used to assess the environmental sustainability of the diet and the Dutch Healthy Diet Index was used to assess the healthiness of the diet. For each study participant, the proportional contribution of six taste clusters to the daily energy intake (en%) and to the total amount consumed (gram%) using a taste database including 469 foods. The six taste clusters consisted of 1) neutral; 2) salt, umami, fat; 3) sweet, sour; 4) sweet, fat; 5) fat; and 6) bitter tasting foods.

Results show that participants who have a healthier and more sustainable diet consumed less food products from the taste cluster ‘umami, salt, fat’ (16 en%) and ‘bitter’ (17 gram%) and more products from the taste cluster ‘neutral’ (42 en%) compared to participants that have a less healthy and less sustainable diet (umami, salt, fat: 26 en%; bitter: 29 gram%; neutral: 33 en%).

This is related to i.e. lower intakes of meat products and coffee and higher intakes of fruits, vegetables, cereal products and tea in diets high on health and sustainability as compared to diets low on health and sustainability. The results suggest that taste profiles should be taken into account when proposing healthy and sustainable menus and meals.



van Bussel, L. M., Kuijsten, A., Mars, M., Feskens, E. J. M., & van’t Veer, P. (2019). Taste profiles of diets high and low in environmental sustainability and health. Food Quality and Preference (2019).

- Alpro Foundation

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