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Apparent Consumption of Selected Foodstuffs, Australia methodology

Reference period
2019-20 financial year

Explanatory notes

Introduction

1 The Apparent Consumption of Selected Foodstuffs, Australia, 2019–20 (cat. no. 4316.0) is intended to provide information on trends in food consumption, nutritional adequacy of the food supply and impacts of changes to food supply. The data is complementary to the more detailed information available from national nutrition surveys, but with the advantage of being an ongoing (annual) collection that can be produced in a relatively timely and cost-effective manner. This helps to address a critical data gap relating to food and nutrient consumption required to inform policy makers, regulators, health researchers and the food industry.

2 The 2019-20 release of the Apparent Consumption of Selected Foodstuffs (ACSF) publication is the second release of ACSF since collection was resumed for the year 2018-19.  The previous historic collection of ACSF ceased in 2000 (1998–99 reference year) due to data quality concerns around fitness for purpose of previous data sources used for estimating the availability and consumption of certain foodstuffs. A review at that time found the costs and complexity of addressing the data quality concerns to be too prohibitive to resolve within available funding and competing statistical priorities.

3 The relatively recent innovation of using transactions 'scanner' data to improve the collection efficiency and data quality of measuring consumer price change for the quarterly Consumer Price Index (CPI) offers the opportunity to extract further value from this information through the development of a new ACSF collection. The development of these estimates was supported and funded by the Department of Health to help inform Australian food nutrition policy and research. The use of sales data to measure apparent consumption is a key difference from the previous ABS Apparent Consumption of Foodstuffs collection which used the traditional approach based on production plus imports minus exports.

4 The apparent consumption of selected foodstuff (ACSF) estimates in this publication are comprised of two components:

  1. Directly calculated measures of food quantities available for consumption from aggregated sales data provided by the major retailers using Scanner Data (SD), and
  2. Indirectly estimated measures of the food quantities available for consumption that are not captured by the major retailers in the SD, which are based on household expenditure data.

Data sources

Scanner data

5 The primary data source for this publication is the aggregated scanner data (SD) provided to the ABS from major supermarkets. The major supermarkets provide aggregated data based on information compiled from barcode scanning at the point of sale. The aggregate information comprises the Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) of the sales item, a description of the item, the geographical region of sale and weekly aggregate amounts of the quantity and value of the sales. The major supermarkets that provide data to the ABS account for an estimated 82% of the Food Retail sector.

2015–16 Household Expenditure Survey

6 The Household Expenditure Survey (HES) is undertaken every six years. The most recent survey, the 2015–16 HES, is used to help estimate and impute the value of product sales which are not captured by food and beverage sales at the major supermarkets in the SD (that is, the remaining 18% of foodstuffs available for consumption in the Food Retail sector). For example, food purchases made at convenience stores, butchers, fish shops, bakeries, delis and fresh food markets. Expenditure data from the HES is used to estimate the ratio of expenditure in stores not represented by SD to expenditure from the supermarkets in scope of SD (for a given product category in a given geographical area). No adjustment is made to the 2015–16 HES data to align to the 2018–19 or 2019-20 ACSF reference periods.  Further information on the use of the HES for adjustment is provided in the 'Estimation' section below. 

Scope

7 The scope for this publication is all food and non-alcoholic beverages purchased for consumption in Australia from the Food Retail sector. This includes all food and non-alcoholic products assigned to the food and non-alcoholic beverage expenditure classes (ECs) used to compile the CPI with the exception of Restaurant meals and Take-away and fast foods. See CPI's 17th Series Expenditure Weights for the complete list of ECs.

8 The 2015–16 HES collects expenditure from households representing about 97% of people in Australia. In expenditure terms, the 2015–16 HES estimated an average weekly expenditure of $237 per household on Food and non-alcoholic beverages. Of this, 34% ($80) was estimated to be on Meals out and fast foods, leaving 66% ($157 in 2015–16) of total food expenditure as in scope in the ACSF.

9 All in scope foods are coded to the food classification system in the AUSNUT 2011–13 database which was developed for the 2011–13 Australian Health Survey. Assignment of AUSNUT codes provides the ACSF with an established food classification and enables SD and HES data to be assigned to useful major food groups and subgroups for analysis.  In addition, AUSNUT 2011–13 contains comprehensive nutrient data for each food and non-alcoholic beverage product and links directly to other established metadata including information about the amounts (serves or grams) of Australian Dietary Guidelines (ADG) Food Groups. This alignment means that conceptually the data can be used for a similar high-level food and nutrient analyses (i.e. population averages) as may be done from a national nutrition survey. There are however important differences which should be considered due to the differing nature of foods as purchased (scanner data) and food as eaten (nutrition surveys).

10 It should be noted that estimates of 'apparent consumption' of food and non-alcoholic beverage products are derived using information related to sales (that is, food available for consumption from purchases made from the Food Retail sector). Therefore, they are at best a partial representation of the apparent consumption due to scope limitations (see ‘Out of scope’ below). Furthermore, ‘apparent consumption’ methodologies typically don’t adjust for waste (see below) or changes in household inventories i.e. all food and non-alcoholic beverages available for apparent consumption (purchased) in a particular year are assumed to have been consumed in that year.

Out of scope

11 While SD (when used with the HES) can represent the majority of the food available for consumption in Australia, there are clear gaps where either SD sales or 2015–16 HES do not adequately capture representative food and non-alcoholic beverage amounts. These are:

  • Fast foods, cafe and restaurant meals
  • Meals provided by institutions that source food from the non-retail sector
  • Home grown or produced food
  • Wild harvested/hunted bush food or seafood.

12 The exclusions in the HES sample comprise of:

  • Very Remote areas
  • Residents of non-private dwellings (e.g. hotels, boarding schools, nursing homes and prisons)
  • Households containing members of non-Australian defence forces or diplomatic personnel of overseas governments stationed in Australia.

The exclusions associated with the HES survey should have minimal impact on the indirect estimated measures compiled to represent the food quantities available for consumption from the non-major supermarkets not captured in the SD provided to the ABS.

Alcohol

13 Comprehensive alcohol data are not currently available from scanner data. Although the annual Apparent Consumption of Alcohol (ACA) collection provides national annual estimates for beer, wine and spirits, the ACA data are not incorporated in the ACSF because of differences in scope and coverage. The alcohol estimates from the ACA represent all alcohol available for consumption in Australia, while the ACSF is limited to just the foods available for consumption in the Food Retail sector (less Restaurant meals and Take-away and fast foods). Including ACA estimates in the ACSF would present an over-estimate of the quantity of alcoholic beverages available as well as the relative contribution of alcohol to total energy available for consumption. A further misalignment of the data sources results from the different reference periods with the latest ACA data for 2017–18, 24 months prior to the latest ACSF reference period.

Waste

14 The estimates presented in this publication are not adjusted for possible product wastage. The most recent estimate of total organic food wastage in Australia was around 3.1 million tonnes for 2016–17. This is the equivalent of around 350 grams per person per day (or 2.4 kg per week). While it may be expected that all perishable goods will be susceptible to a degree of waste, the waste estimates cannot provide further breakdowns, for instance how much is vegetables and fruits, and how much is baked goods, dairy produce, various meat products etc. Given most discretionary foods are packaged (and have a longer shelf life) they may be less likely to be disposed of than fresh produce. Such an imbalance in waste suggests greater care should be taken in interpreting the apparent consumption of non-discretionary foods and therefore the relative balance between discretionary and non-discretionary foods. In addition different fresh foods may have different edible proportions (e.g. grapes have a higher edible proportion than pineapple) and no adjustment has been made to subtract the inedible proportion which may lead to further over-estimation of the amount of certain fresh products and nutrients available for consumption.

Geographical coverage

15 The SD provides aggregate data representing all regions of Australia serviced by major supermarket chains. Estimates in this publication are presented at the national level. While state and sub-state estimates are feasible, they are not included in this release.

Reference period

16 The current release is the second edition in the new publication series, providing data for the two years from July 2018 to June 2020.  Estimates from 2018-19 which were previously published have been revised to incorporate subsequent improvements in coding coverage and to ensure that the 2018-19 data are on the same basis as the 2019-20 estimates. 

Methods

AUSNUT coding

17 The process of AUSNUT coding involves assigning each food item SKU to an AUSNUT code and a size (weight or volume) based on the product description. AUSNUT coding has been performed on over 96% of the total value of SD foods in the 2018–19 and 2019-20 periods, equivalent to over 127,000 unique SKUs.

18 As noted above, the AUSNUT 2011–13 classification was designed to code foods as consumed, whereas many foods in the SD require preparation. Although the great variety and detail of AUSNUT focuses on foods in their prepared forms, AUSNUT also includes codes and nutrient data for the unprepared varieties (e.g. uncooked pasta, flour, jelly crystals, uncooked cuts of meat) and these were applied as appropriate. The general limitation of coding is the availability of specific and accurate codes to handle the variety of unprepared foods and the changing nature of the food supply. For example, where manufacturers have reformulated their products to reduce sugar or sodium content, the available AUSNUT code used may not reflect the most up-to-date nutrient profile.

Coding weighting adjustment

19 Weighting has been applied to the coded data to account for the value and quantity of food items that were unable to be coded. The weights are based on the inverse of the proportion of coded amount from the total amount.  The weights are calibrated and applied by the four dimensions of:  EC, sales week, Greater Capital City Statistical Area (GCCSA) and supermarket chain level. This level of detail ensures the weighting is as targeted and reliable as possible with the available information. One implication of this weighting method is that each food item within an EC/sales week/GCCSA/retailer will have the same weight, even though at a finer product category level there may be differences in coding coverage.

20 Therefore, the two principles and one assumption in this adjustment are:

  1. The adjustment is important to overcome the bias that would result without it (because coding ratios have changed over time and vary between product groups) 
  2. Adjustments are relatively minor because coding rates are relatively high (~96%) and therefore minimising the introduction of new bias through the adjustment 
  3. The coding ratio of each EC is representative of the foods within that EC. 

Missing ECs

21 Around 3% of the value of foods in the SD did not have an assigned EC. These products were grouped in their own 'missing' EC and the same coding weighting adjustment was applied as described above. This group of ECs is more heterogenous than the identified EC groupings, so the coding ratio of this group may not be fully representative of the different foods within it.

Estimation

22 As previously mentioned, there are two components to the estimates of apparent consumption of foodstuffs presented in this publication. The components are:

  1. Directly estimated component. This is simply the quantity of each item multiplied by the size (grams or mL) of the item in the SD. 
  2. Indirectly estimated component. This uses 2015–16 HES data to derive an expenditure ratio of food items from the non-major supermarkets and other food retail outlets to the major supermarkets to estimate the food quantities available for consumption that are not captured in the SD. This expenditure ratio is then applied to a grams per dollar value to derive the estimated quantity (weight or volume) of that food or non-alcoholic beverage available for consumption from the non-major supermarkets and other food retail outlets.

23 The adjustment for the indirectly estimated component may be summarised as a four-step process: 

  1. Map 2015–16 HES food and non-alcoholic beverage expenditure codes to AUSNUT 2011–13 codes.  
  2. Estimate the Food Retail sector expenditure ratio from non-major supermarkets and other food retail outlets to the major supermarkets by each food group by region from the data reported in the 2015–16 HES. This step provides the expenditure ratio for a defined food group for each GCCSA.

 This is expressed below where i = a given food group in a given GCCSA geographical area, MS represents major supermarkets, NMS represents the food retailers from non-major supermarkets and other food retail outlets and Exp() represents the respective expenditure amounts.

\(\large{Coverage \ weight _{i}=\frac{\sum w_{i} \times E x p_{i}(N M S)}{\sum w_{i} \times E x p_{i}(M S)}}\)

  1. Derive amounts (grams or mL) per dollar for each product based on the known prices per product size in the SD.
  2. Apply the amounts per dollar (from step 3) to the expenditure ratios (from step 2) and multiply by the observed sales values in the SD to derive the imputed amounts in grams or mL of foods and non-alcoholic beverages available for consumption from non-major supermarkets and other food retail outlets.

Limitations of method

24 Three main limitations have been identified which will impact the validity of the expenditure ratios. These are:

  1. Loss of fine product detail in mapping of HES expenditure codes (HEC) to AUSNUT codes 
  2. Representation of identified stores in the subset of HES data available to estimate proportion of expenditure from the major and non-major supermarkets and other food retail outlets (and that it represents a period four years prior to the current ACSF reference period) 
  3. Estimation of the amount (grams or mL) per dollar of food represented in the SD.

Mapping of HES expenditure codes to AUSNUT codes

25 The aim of this step is to define common groups of products that represent broad types of food and non-alcoholic beverages groups in terms of their propensity to be bought from the major supermarkets or other retail outlets.

26 Alignment of 2015–16 HES food expenditures with the SD was performed by creating a correspondence which maps foods and non-alcoholic beverages from both the HES (124 relevant codes) and AUSNUT (5,740 codes) to common food groups. After collapsing a number of HES codes which were not similarly split in AUSNUT, each classification was mapped to a common set of 63 defined food groups (see the 2011–13 AUSNUT to 2015–16 HEC correspondence table available from the Data downloads section).

Representation of identified stores in the subset of HES

27 The HES was used to provide estimates of the expenditure ratios (by food group and geography) of the in scope supermarkets. However, the receipt information identifying the store at which food purchases were made in the 2015–16 HES was not an essential survey input data item, and only captured incidentally (where the respondent retained the receipt to assist in recording expenditures). While almost three-quarters (74%) of relevant food and non-alcoholic beverages expenditure had a store receipt which identified the store, this subset is likely to over represent the transactions where the respondent purchased multiple grocery items. This led to a moderate correlation between a food item having a receipt and that food being purchased at one of the major supermarkets in scope of the SD. With no further adjustment made, this association may indicate some bias favouring expenditures from the major supermarkets. Such a bias may tend to underestimate the expenditure ratios for foods coming from specialty shops (e.g. butchers, bakeries, fresh food markets or seafood shops). 

Deriving a gram or mL amount of food or beverage per dollar

28 Translating the expenditure ratios to amounts (grams or mL) of food per dollar was performed by:

  1. Deriving a median amount (grams or mL) per dollar at the AUSNUT code level, based on all contributing SKUs to each AUSNUT code
  2. Applying that gram or mL per dollar amount to the expenditure ratio to estimate the imputed amount of each food. In practice, foods being imputed are aggregates of AUSNUT coded foods, so the imputation uses weighted aggregates of the applicable AUSNUT code medians.

 29 The major limitation of this method is the assumption that amounts per dollar from major supermarkets represent the amounts for other retailers (e.g. convenience stores and specialty stores). It is more likely that for many products the amounts of food or non-alcoholic beverage available for consumption per dollar expended are higher at the major supermarkets on equivalent items.

30 By using the median, it assumes the midpoint value is representative of the aggregate amount (grams or mL) per dollar across all products in the defined food group. Analysis of the SD shows some amounts (grams or mL) per dollar distributions are bi-modal, with product items concentrated around small sized products (lower grams or mL per dollar) and bulk products (higher grams or mL per dollar). Therefore, if the expenditure in non-major supermarkets and other food retail outlets includes less of the bulk packages then the imputed amount of food or non-alcoholic beverage (grams or mL) per dollar may be an overestimate.

Per capita estimates

31 Daily per capita estimates are derived by dividing the annual total by the number of days in the reference year and dividing by the Estimated Resident Population (ERP). Data representing each financial year uses the ERP for December. For example, the 2019-20 estimates use ERP for December 2019. No adjustments have been made to the ERP for foods and non-alcoholic beverages that are typically consumed by selected age groups only, such as baby food.

Measuring Australian Dietary Guidelines food groups

32 Because many food products are mixtures of food groups, measuring the total apparent consumption amounts of each of the food groups utilises an Australian Dietary Guidelines (ADG) database which measures the amounts of each of the ADG food groups in each AUSNUT food.  The ADG database used was originally developed by Food Standards Australia New Zealand for the 2011–12 NNPAS. For more information, see Assessing the 2011–13 AHS against the Australian Dietary Guidelines - Classification System and Database Development Explanatory notes. 

Revision of estimates

33 The 2018-19 estimates included in the 2019-20 publication have been revised from the initial 2018-19 publication.  These revisions which ensure comparability with 2019-20 data are the result of improvements to the accuracy and coverage of AUSNUT coding and consist of: 

  • changes to the weight/volume of products previously coded
  • changes to the specific AUSNUT code assigned to products previously coded
  • coding of additional food and beverage products  

Reliability of estimates

34 The estimates presented in this publication are subject to error which can be broadly categorised as either sampling error or non-sampling error. For more information refer to the Technical Note.

Technical note

Reliability of estimates

1 The apparent consumption of selected foodstuff (ACSF) estimates in this publication are comprised of two components:

  1. Directly calculated measures of food and non-alcoholic beverage quantities available for consumption from aggregated sales data provided by the major retailers using Scanner Data (SD), and
  2. Indirectly estimated measures of the food and non-alcoholic beverage quantities available for consumption that are not captured in the SD which are based on household expenditure data.
     

2 These two components are subject to two types of error, non-sampling and sampling error.

Non-sampling error

3 Non-sampling error can occur in any collection, whether the estimates are derived from a sample, administration data or from a complete collection such as a census. Sources of non-sampling error include non-response, errors in reporting by respondents or recording of answers by interviewers, and errors in coding and processing the data.

4 Non-sampling errors are difficult to quantify in any collection. However, every effort is made to reduce non-sampling error to a minimum by careful design and testing of the questionnaire, training of interviewers and data entry staff, and extensive editing and quality control procedures at all stages of data processing. Further information on methods adopted to reduce the level and impact of non-response is given in the Explanatory Notes of the 2015–16 Household Expenditure Survey (HES).

Sampling error

5 The directly calculated component of the ACSF estimates is based on administrative data source and by nature does not have an associated sampling error.

6 The indirectly estimated component of the ACSF estimates is derived from the 2015–16 HES to estimate the food and non-alcoholic beverage quantities available for consumption by the non-major retailers. As the HES is a household survey, the data used to estimate the food quantities available for consumption by the non-major retailers are based on a sample and are subject to sampling variability. The HES estimates may therefore differ from the figures that would have been produced if expenditure information had been collected for all households.

7 One measure of the sampling uncertainty is given by the standard error estimate (SE), which indicates the extent to which a sample estimate might have varied compared to the population parameter because only a sample of dwellings were included. There are about two chances in three that the sample estimate will differ by less than one SE from the population parameter that would have been obtained if all dwellings had been enumerated, and about 19 chances in 20 that the difference will be less than two SEs.

8 The SEs for estimated amounts (volumes and weights) have been calculated using a delete-a-group jackknife method which take account of the survey design. As the proportions in this publication have been calculated after the processing period of the 2015–16 HES collection, the delete-a-group jackknife method can not be used for calculating SEs of proportions. However, from https://www.stat.cmu.edu/~hseltman/files/ratio.pdf, assuming the covariance term is zero, we can approximate the SE by the following formula:

\(\large{S E\left(\frac{X}{Y}\right)=\frac{X}{Y} \sqrt{\frac{V a r(X)}{X^{2}}+\frac{V a r(Y)}{Y^{2}}}}\)

9 For this publication, relative standard errors (RSE) has been provided for estimated amounts (volumes and weights) and Margins of Error (MoE) have been provided for proportions and are available from the Data downloads section. These measures of sampling error are typically small as the indirectly estimated measures contribute a small component of the overall ACSF estimate. The RSE is obtained by expressing the SE as a percentage of the estimate, while the MoE, which describes the distance from the population value that the sample estimate is likely to be within, is calculated as 1.96 multiplied by the SE. The RSE and MOE can be calculated by the following formula:

\(\large{RSE}(X)=\frac{S E(X)}{X}, {MoE}(X)=1.96 \times {SE}(X)\)

10 The MOEs in this publication are calculated at the 95% confidence interval. This can easily be converted to a 90% confidence level by multiplying the MOE by: 1.645/1.96 (for example, see Reliability of Estimates in National Health Survey: First Results, 2017–18) or to a 99% confidence level by multiplying by a factor of: 2.576/1.96.

11 A confidence interval expresses the sampling error as a range in which the population value is expected to lie at a given level of confidence. The confidence interval can easily be constructed from the MOE of the same level of confidence by taking the estimate plus or minus the MOE of the estimate.

Glossary

Show all

The definitions used throughout this publication are not necessarily identical to those used for similar items in other collections, particularly with regards to custom classifications of food groupings.

Acceptable macronutrient distribution ranges (AMDR)

Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges (AMDR) provide the recommended lower and upper bounds of proportion of energy contribution for each of the macronutrients to total energy intakes. Percentages are consistent with the available evidence linking macronutrient balance with chronic disease risk. These are published in Australia by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) in the Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand. The total macronutrient ranges are:

  • Carbohydrate (45–65%)
  • Protein (15–25%)
  • Fats (20–35%)
  • Alcohol (<5%).


Further recommendations are made for:

  • Saturated fats + Trans fatty acids (8-10%)
  • Long chain omega-3 fatty acids (0.2%).
     

Added sugars

The definition for added sugars is based on the definition of ‘sugars’ in Clause 1 of Standard 2.8.1 of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.

“Sugars means –

  1. hexose monosaccharides and disaccharides, including dextrose, fructose, sucrose and lactose; or
  2. starch hydrolysate; or
  3. glucose syrups, maltodextrin and similar products; or
  4. products derived at a sugar refinery, including brown sugar and molasses; or
  5. icing sugar; or
  6. invert sugar; or
  7. fruit sugar syrup; derived from any source,


but does not include –

  1. malt or malt extracts; or
  2. sorbitol, mannitol, glycerol, xylitol, polydextrose, isomalt, maltitol, maltitol syrup or lactitol.”


Maltodextrin was not reported as part of total sugars in AUSNUT 2011-13 and thus could not be considered in this analysis. Honey, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates are not included in this Standard and as such were not considered ‘added sugars’ for this definition of added sugars.

For more information see: Developing the Added Sugars and Free Sugars datasets available from https://www.foodstandards.gov.au/science/monitoringnutrients/ausnut/Pages/default.aspx.

Alcohol

The term 'Alcohol' in this publication refers to the molecule ethanol which is an energy providing macronutrient. Although almost 100% of dietary alcohol is consumed from alcoholic beverages, small amounts of alcohol may be found in foods such as desserts, chocolates and vanilla extract. For this reason, non-zero amounts of alcohol are possible in Table 2 and Table 3, despite alcoholic beverages not being in scope of the source data.

Alcoholic beverages

The 'Alcoholic beverages' food group includes beers, wines, spirits, cider and other alcoholic beverages. Data for alcoholic beverages are not currently available from scanner data due to limitations in scope. For further information, see 'Alcohol' in Explanatory Notes.

Apparent consumption

Apparent consumption in this release measures the amount of food purchased (based on sales data), but does not measure actual consumption as it does not account for food purchases from restaurants, fast foods and cafes, home grown, produced, wild harvested foods or foods not consumed through waste or storage. This differs from previous ABS publications of Apparent Consumption of Foodstuffs which used the more common methodology based on: national production + imports - exports. See Explanatory Notes for more information on the data sources and methods used.

AUSNUT 2011–13

The Australian Food, Supplement and Nutrient Database (AUSNUT) 2011–13 refers to a set of files that enables food, dietary supplement and nutrient intake estimates to be made from the 2011–13 Australian Health Survey (AHS). It includes foods and dietary supplements consumed as part of the 2011–12 National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (NNPAS) and the 2012–13 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (NATSINPAS) components of the AHS. As AUSNUT 2011–13 was developed for the 2011–13 AHS it reflects the food supply and food preparation practices during this time period.

See also Nutrient Database in this Glossary.

Australian Dietary Guidelines (ADG)

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NMHRC) 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines use the best available scientific evidence to provide information on the types and amounts of foods, food groups and dietary patterns that:

  • Promote health and wellbeing
  • Reduce the risk of diet-related conditions
  • Reduce the risk of chronic disease.


The Guidelines are for use by health professionals, policy makers, educators, food manufacturers, food retailers and researchers.

The content of the Australian Dietary Guidelines applies to all healthy Australians, as well as those with common diet-related risk factors such as being overweight. They do not apply to people who need special dietary advice for a medical condition, or to the frail elderly.

Australian Dietary Guidelines database

The estimation of ADG food group consumption for the 2011–13 AHS required the development of a database by FSANZ which specifies the amounts of each ADG food group contained within each AUSNUT food consumed in the 2011–12 NNPAS. For more information, see Assessing the 2011–13 AHS against the Australian Dietary Guidelines - Classification System and Database Development Explanatory Notes, available from: https://www.foodstandards.gov.au/science/monitoringnutrients/Pages/default.aspx.

Australian Dietary Guidelines food groups

Guideline 2 in the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines ('enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods') advocates for Australians to follow a dietary pattern which includes a variety of choices from each of the five food groups. These comprise:

  • Grain (cereal) foods
  • Vegetables and legumes/beans
  • Fruit
  • Milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or alternatives
  • Lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds and legumes/beans.


In addition to the five food groups, Guideline 3 also recommends an allowance for a sixth food group 'unsaturated fats and oils'. By definition, the ADG food groups exclude foods which nominally have ingredients belonging to the five food groups, but are considered discretionary choices because of the presence of high levels of sodium, saturated fat or added sugar.

Table 4.1, which presents mean daily serves per capita of the Australian Dietary Guidelines food groups, provides these serve quantities in total, then by non-discretionary and then discretionary groups. However, as stated above, it is only the non-discretionary group that meets the criteria of the guidelines and therefore is the comparator for the recommended serves within the 2013 ADG.

See also 'Discretionary foods' and 'Non-discretionary foods' in this Glossary.

For information on how grams and serves of the food groups are estimated, see 'Measuring Australian Dietary Guidelines food groups' in the Explanatory Notes.

Australian Health Survey (AHS) 2011–13

The Australian Health Survey 2011–13 was composed of six separate surveys:

  • National Health Survey (NHS) 2011–12
  • National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (NNPAS) 2011–12
  • National Health Measures Survey (NHMS) 2011–12
  • National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS) 2012-13
  • National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (NATSINPAS) 2012–13
  • National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measure Survey (NATSIHMS) 2012-13.


In addition to this, the AHS Survey contains Core datasets, which were produced from questions that are common to both the NHS and NNPAS + NATSIHS and NATSINPAS. For further information, see About the Australian Health Survey.

Average recommended serves

Guideline 2 of the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines provides age and sex specific recommendations of the minimum number of serves for each of the five food groups for the population across the life stages. Because the ACSF can only provide the average number of serves for the whole population for each of the five food groups, a comparison with the ADG recommendations requires the recommendations to be simplified on an equivalent basis. This may be done by creating average recommended serves that accounts for the size of the population in each age and sex group.

Using the 2019 Estimated Resident Population to 'weight' the ADG serve recommendations produces the average serves in the table below. Note however, this does not take account of the recommendations for pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Download
ADG food groupAverage recommended servesAverage recommended serves (rounded to half serves)
Grains and cereals5.45 1/2
Vegetables and legumes/beans5.25
Fruit1.92
Milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or alternatives2.83
Lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds and legumes/beans2.42 1/2

Basic food groups

The grams and serves of Basic food groups presented in Table 4.3 represents the total amounts of all foods and non-alcoholic beverages available for consumption, regardless of discretionary status in the Australian Dietary Guidelines food groups. They are called Basic food groups in this table to differentiate them from the ADG food groups (non-discretionary foods only) with a breakdown of some basic food groupings contributing to each of the ADG food groups provided.

Carbohydrate

Carbohydrate is a macronutrient often contributing the greatest proportion of energy in human diets. Data for total carbohydrate content of foods and beverages include starch, sugars and related substances (sugar alcohols and oligosaccharides). Sugar alcohols and oligosaccharides are included in 'Total carbohydrates' but not in starch and sugar sub-totals. Therefore, total carbohydrate content of food does not always equal the sum of sugars and starch content.

Cereal-based products and dishes

The 'Cereal-based products and dishes' food group contains biscuits, cakes, pastries, pies, dumplings, pizza, sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs, and pasta and rice mixed dishes.

Cereals and cereal products

The 'Cereals and Cereal Products' food group includes grains, flours, bread and bread rolls, plain pasta, noodles and rice, and breakfast cereals.

Commercially sterile

'Commercially sterile' refers to the process of sealing food products in airtight containers in association with thermal or chemical processing treatments as a method of food preservation. Food products such as fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, or a combination of these foods (e.g. soups, sauces, and fruit salad) can be stored safely in airtight sealed containers and are otherwise known as 'canned foods' or products otherwise sealed in plastic or glass. For more information, see the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).

Confectionery and cereal/nut/fruit/seed bars

The 'Confectionery and cereal/nut/fruit/seed bars' food group includes chocolate, fruit, nut and seed bars and muesli or cereal-style bars.

Dairy and meat substitutes

The 'Dairy and meat substitutes' food group includes milk substitutes, cheese and meat substitutes, substitutes for milk-based products (e.g. soy-based ice cream and yoghurt), and dishes where dairy and meat substitutes are the major components (e.g. tofu curry and tofu and vegetable curry).

Density

Beverages and certain foods such sauces and oils which are typically sold by volume (mL) are converted to grams by applying a density (the amount of mass per volume). This conversion is necessary to have quantities in the same units and for calculating nutrient amounts from AUSNUT (where nutrients are in amounts per 100 grams).

Dietary fibre

Dietary fibre is generally found in edible plants or their extracts but can also come from synthetic analogues. It refers to the fractions of the plant or analogue that are resistant to digestion and absorption, which usually undergo fermentation in the large intestine. Dietary fibre plays a beneficial role in laxation, blood cholesterol levels, and blood glucose modulation. It comes in the form of polysaccharides, oligosaccharides and lignins.

Discretionary foods

Guideline 3 of the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines (ADG) is to "limit intake of foods containing saturated fat, added salt, added sugars and alcohol". The Guidelines further describes discretionary foods as: "foods and drinks not necessary to provide the nutrients the body needs, but that may add variety. However, many of these are high in saturated fats, sugars, salt and / or alcohol, and are therefore described as energy dense. They can be included sometimes in small amounts by those who are physically active, but are not a necessary part of the diet."

The Guidelines list examples of discretionary choices as including: "most sweet biscuits, cakes; desserts and pastries: processed meats and sausages; ice-cream and other ice confections; confectionary and chocolate; savoury pastries and pies; commercial burgers; commercially fried foods; potato chips, crisps and other fatty and/or salty snack foods; cream, butter and spreads which are high in saturated fats; sugar-sweetened soft drinks and cordials, sports and energy drinks, and alcoholic drinks". Based on these definitions and the supporting documents which underpin the Guidelines, relevant AUSNUT 2011-13 foods have been flagged as either discretionary or non-discretionary. For more information, see the Discretionary Foods chapter of the Australian Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2011–13.

Egg products and dishes

The 'Egg products and dishes' food group includes eggs and dishes where eggs are the major component e.g. omelettes, frittatas and souffles.

Energy

Energy (or total dietary energy), measured in kilojoules (kJ), is required by the body for metabolic processes, physiological functions, growth and development, and cognitive functions. The energy reported in this publication refers to the dietary energy provided by carbohydrate, fat, protein, and alcohol. This includes small amounts of additional energy derived from dietary fibre and organic acids.

Energy from macronutrients

Macronutrient energy content of foods and beverages (and proportion of total energy from macronutrients) are derived by multiplying the amount of each macronutrient by the kilojoules per gram conversion factors. This publication uses the same conversion factors used in the 2011–13 AHS. For more information, see the Nutrient Intake chapter of the AHS: Users' Guide, 2011–13 (cat. no. 4363.0.55.001).

Estimated resident population (ERP)

Estimated resident population (ERP), is Australia's official measure of the population of Australia and is based on the concept of usual residence. It refers to all people, regardless of nationality, citizenship or legal status, who usually live in Australia, with the exception of foreign diplomatic personnel and their families. It includes usual residents who are overseas for fewer than 12 months. It excludes overseas visitors who are in Australia for fewer than 12 months. Refer to Australian Demographic Statistics. (cat. no. 3101.0).

Fat

Fat provides a significant amount of dietary energy and is also a carrier for fat-soluble vitamins and the source of essential fatty acids. It is the most energy dense of the macronutrients. The three fatty acid subtotals (saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated) do not sum to the total fat because total fat includes a contribution from non-fatty acid components.

Fats and oils

The 'Fats and oils' food group includes butters, dairy blends, margarines, plant oils (e.g. nut and seed oils), and other fats, such as animal-based fats.

Fish and seafood products and dishes

The 'Fish and seafood products and dishes' food group includes fresh and tinned seafood, shellfish and mixed dishes with fish or seafood as the main component e.g. salmon mornay, fish curry and prawn cocktail.

Five food groups

See 'Australian Dietary Guidelines food groups' in this Glossary.

Fortification

Fortification refers to adding vitamins and minerals to food. When there is determined to be a significant public health need, food manufacturers may be required to add certain vitamins or minerals to specified foods (mandatory fortification). In Australia, mandatory fortification of foods includes requirements for salt used in bread to be iodised, thiamin and folic acid to be added to wheat flour for making bread, and vitamin D added to edible oil spreads such as margarine. See Food Standards Australia New Zealand: Vitamins and minerals added to food.

Food classification or food groups

Food and beverage products provided by scanner data have been categorised for output purposes within a food classification with Major (2-digit), Sub-major (3-digit), and Minor (5-digit) group levels. The classification was developed by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), along with the Nutrient Database, specifically for the Australian Health Survey 2011-13. At the broadest level (i.e. the Major group) there are 24 groups. These groups were designed to categorise foods that share a major component or common feature. Because many foods are in fact mixtures of different ingredients, the food groups will not always exclusively contain the main food of that group. See also AUSNUT 2011-13 and Nutrient Database in this Glossary.

For this publication, the output tables present these food products in a combination of AUSNUT classification and custom groupings against the Australian Dietary Guidelines food groups. Additional custom groups include the sweetened beverages. All food groups and their relevant inclusions have been specified in this Glossary.

Some of the names of AUSNUT food groups have been abbreviated in this publication for ease of reading.  The following table shows the AUSNUT food group names and how they have been abbreviated here. 

Download
Food group codeAUSNUT food groupAbbreviated name

115

Soft drinks and flavoured mineral waters

Soft drinks

117

Waters, bottled, unflavoured

Bottled water

121

Flours and other cereal grains and starches

Flour, rice and other grains

122

Regular breads and bread rolls (plain/unfilled/untopped varieties)

Regular breads and bread rolls

123

English-style muffins, flat breads, and savoury and sweet breads

Flat breads and savoury or sweet breads

124

Pasta and pasta products (without sauce)

Pasta and noodles

13

Cereal based products and dishes

Cereal based products

133

Cakes, muffins, scones, and cake-type desserts

Cakes, muffins, scones

154

Packed (commercially sterile) fish and seafood

Canned/bottled fish and seafood

16

Fruit products and dishes

Fruit products

18

Meat, poultry and game products and dishes

Meat and poultry products

181

Beef, sheep and pork, unprocessed

Beef, lamb and pork

183

Poultry and feathered game

Poultry

19

Milk products and dishes

Milk products

191

Dairy milk (cow, sheep and goat)

Dairy milk

22

Seed and nut products and dishes

Seed and nut products

24

Vegetable products and dishes

Vegetable products

25

Legume and pulse products and dishes

Legume and pulse products

252

Mature legume and pulse products and dishes

Mature legume and pulse products

27

Sugar products and dishes

Sugar products

272

Jam and lemon spreads, chocolate spreads, sauces

Jam and other sweet spreads

28

Confectionery and cereal/nut/fruit/seed bars

Confectionery

281

Chocolate and chocolate-based confectionery

Chocolate

313

Herbs, spices, seasonings and stock cubes

Herbs, seasonings and stocks

315

Chemical raising agent and cooking ingredients

Chemical raising agents

Free sugars

Free sugars, as defined by the WHO, refers to monosaccharides and disaccharides added to foods and drinks by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, and sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates. For more information see WHO/FAO (2003) Diet, nutrition and the prevention of chronic diseases: report of the joint WHO/FAO expert consultation.

For information on the process for calculating free sugar content for AUSNUT foods see Developing the Added Sugars and Free Sugars datasets available from Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).

Fruit products and dishes

The 'Fruit products and dishes' food group includes fresh, dried and preserved fruit, as well as mixed dishes where fruit is the major component, for example apple crumble or banana split.

Infant formulae and foods

The 'Infant formulae and foods' food group includes infant formulae, and infant cereal, food and drink products.

Intense-sweetened

Intense-sweeteners are commonly called 'artificial sweeteners'. The may serve as a sugar substitute in some foods and beverages as a way to sweeten a product while maintaining a lower kilojoule or carbohydrate level.

Intense-sweetened beverages

Intense-sweetened beverages include cordials, soft drinks and flavoured mineral waters, and electrolyte and energy drinks that use an intense sweetener in place of added sugar. See 'Selected non-alcoholic beverages' in this Glossary for a full breakdown of inclusions in the 'Intense-sweetened beverages' group.

Intrinsic sugars

Intrinsic sugars are defined by the WHO as the sugars incorporated in the structure of intact fruit and vegetables. In this analysis, intrinsic sugars plus milk sugars are estimated from total sugars minus free sugars. See WHO Guideline.

Life stages

Life stages refers to periods throughout childhood, adolescence, and phases of adulthood (including pregnancy and breast feeding) where food and nutrient requirements may vary due to the changing physiological demands. In the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines (ADG), they are used to set the minimum recommended numbers of serves of the five food groups specified in Guideline 2 ("enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods from the five food groups every day and drink plenty of water"). In the ADG they are defined by the following groups:

Download
Life stageAge (years)
Boys2–3
 4–8
 9–11
 12–13
 14–18
Men19–50
 51–70
 70+
Girls2–3
 4–8
 9–11
 12–13
 14–18
 Pregnant (up to 18 years)
 Breastfeeding (up to 18 years)
Women19–50
 51–70
 70+
 Pregnant (19–50 years)
 Breastfeeding (19–50 years)

See Australian Dietary Guidelines food groups in this Glossary for more information on the five food groups, and the Australian Dietary Guidelines Summary for specific recommendations for consumption of the five food groups across the life stages.

Legume and pulse products and dishes

The 'Legume and pulse products and dishes' food group includes legumes and pulses e.g. baked beans, chickpeas, split peas, lentils and dishes where legumes are the major component, for example dhal and falafel.

Margin of Error (MoE)

Margin of Error (MoE) describes the distance from the population value that the sample estimate is likely to be within, and is specified at a given level of confidence. Confidence levels typically used are 90%, 95% and 99%. For example, at the 95% confidence level the MoE indicates that there are about 19 chances in 20 that the estimate will differ by less than the specified MoE from the population value (the figure obtained if the entire population had been enumerated). In this publication, MoE has been provided at the 95% confidence level for proportions of persons and usual daily proportions of energy from macronutrients. For more information see the Technical Note of this publication.

Mean

The mean is the sum of the value of each observation in a dataset divided by the number of observations. This is also known as the arithmetic average. In this release, the means presented are mean daily per capita amounts which are calculated from the sum of the annual total amount (for example, g of foods, kJ of energy or g/mg/µg of nutrients) divided by the Estimated Resident Population and also divided by number of days in the reference year.

Meat, poultry and game products and dishes

The 'Meat, poultry and game products and dishes' food group includes beef, sheep, pork, poultry, sausages, processed meat (e.g. salami) and mixed dishes where meat or poultry is the major component e.g. casseroles, curried sausages and chicken stir-fry.

Milk products and dishes

The 'Milk products and dishes' food group includes milk, yoghurt, cream, cheese, custards, ice cream, milk shakes, smoothies and dishes where milk is the major component e.g. cheesecake, rice pudding and creme brulee.

Miscellaneous

The 'Miscellaneous' food group includes yeast, and spreadable yeast extract, intense sweeteners, herbs, spices and seasonings.

National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (NNPAS)

The National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey focused on collecting information on:

  • Dietary behaviour and food avoidance (including 24-hour dietary recall)
  • Selected medical conditions that had lasted, or were expected to last, for six months or more, such as;
    • Cardiovascular and circulatory conditions
    • Diabetes and high sugar levels
    • Kidney disease
    • Blood pressure
  • Female life stages
  • Physical activity and sedentary behaviour (including eight-day pedometer component)
  • Use of tobacco
  • Physical measurements (height, weight and waist circumference).
     

Non-alcoholic beverages

The 'Non-alcoholic beverages' AUSNUT food group includes tea, coffee, juices, cordials, soft drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, water, and beverage flavourings (typically powders added to milk).  Although tea, coffee and beverage flavourings are included in this publication, the vast majority are in their unprepared (dry) state, so will contribute negligible weights and volumes compared to their prepared form. Also note that the amounts of water included in this publication is from packaged water only. See also 'Selected non-alcoholic beverages' in this Glossary.

Non-discretionary foods

The 'Non-discretionary foods' group comprises of those foods identified in the Australian Dietary Guidelines five food groups. See also 'Australian Dietary Guidelines food groups' in this Glossary.

Nutrient

Nutrients are the chemical compounds sourced from the diet that are required to provide energy, structural materials, and biochemical cofactors to support the growth, maintenance, and repair of body tissues.

Nutrient database

Nutrient data used in this publication is based on the AUSNUT 2011–13 food nutrient database developed by Food Standards Australia New Zealand for the 2011-13 AHS.

Nutrient Reference Value (NRV)

The Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand are the evidence based recommendations for the amounts of nutrients required from the diet to ensure nutritional adequacy and avoid potential toxicity from excessive intakes. The NRVs come in several forms:

  • Estimated Average Requirements (EAR) - the amount considered adequate to meet the needs of 50% of the population
  • Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) - an amount designed to meet the requirements of 98% of the population
  • Upper Level (UL) - the maximum amount recommended where intakes higher than the UL are associated with increased health risk
  • Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges - (AMDR) provide the recommended lower and upper bounds of proportion of energy contribution for each of the macronutrients, consistent with the available evidence linking macronutrient balance with chronic disease risk
  • Suggested Dietary Targets (SDT) - a population average intake that may help reduce chronic disease risk
  • Adequate intake (AI) - the amount determined to be adequate based on average intakes in observed populations without adverse signs. AIs are used where the RDI cannot be determined.
     

Other non-alcoholic beverages

The 'Other non-alcoholic beverages' custom group includes beverages that do not have added sugar or intense sweeteners (e.g. fruit and vegetable juices, water) as well as intense sweetened beverages. See 'Selected non-alcoholic beverages' in this Glossary for details.

Per capita estimates

Per capita amounts are derived by dividing the total amount of a food or nutrient available for consumption by the Estimated Resident Population (ERP). In this publication, per capita estimates are derived by dividing the annual total by the ERP and also divided by the number of days in the reference year, except in the case of monthly estimates where the monthly total is divided by the ERP and the number of days in that calendar month. Data representing the 2018-19 period uses the ERP for December 2018, while the 2019-20 period uses the ERP for December 2019 . The ERP is published in the quarterly publication Australian Demographic Statistics and ABS projections. For more information on population estimates, see Estimated Resident Population. 

Protein

Protein supplies essential amino acids and is also a source of energy. Protein can be supplied from animal or vegetable sources, though individual vegetables do not contain all the essential amino acids required by the body. A combination of vegetables is required to be consumed to provide all the essential amino acids.

Recommended usual intake of fruit

The National Health and Medical Research Council recommends levels of daily fruit intake to ensure good nutrition and health. Fruit intake has been grouped in the table below to allow results to be reported against the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines. A serve is approximately 150 grams of fresh fruit, half a cup of fruit juice (no added sugar) or 30 grams of dried fruit.*

Download
AgeFruit (serves)
2–3 years1
4–8 years1.5
9–11 years2
12–13 years2
14–18 years2
19–50 years2
51–70 years2
70+ years2

*Note, while the NHMRC 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines allow fruit juice to be used occasionally as one of the daily serves of fruit, the AHS only collected usual serves of fruit (excluding juice).
 

Recommended usual intake of vegetables

The National Health and Medical Research Council recommends levels of daily vegetable intake to ensure good nutrition and health. Vegetable intake has been grouped in the table below to allow results to be reported against the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines. A serve is approximately half a cup of cooked vegetables or legumes/beans or one cup of salad vegetables - equivalent to around 75 grams.*

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AgeVegetable (serves) for malesVegetable (serves) for females
2–3 years2.52.5
4–8 years4.54.5
9–11 years55
12–13 years5.55
14–18 years5.55
19–50 years65*
51–70 years5.55
70+ years55

*Note, the recommended usual intake of vegetables for breastfeeding women is 7.5 serves and for pregnant women is 5 serves, however these population groups have not been separated in the nutrient data output.

Relative Standard Error (RSE)

The relative standard error is the standard error expressed as a percentage of the estimate. For more information see Technical Note in this publication.

Saturated fat

Saturated fat or saturated fatty acids are a type of fat predominantly found in animal-based foods, although there are exceptions. Reported saturated fat is the total of all saturated fatty acids, that is, all fatty acids without any double bonds.

Savoury sauces and condiments

The 'Savoury sauces and condiments' food group includes gravies and sauces, pickles, chutneys and relishes, salad dressings, stuffings, and dips.

Seed and nut products and dishes

The 'Seed and nut products and dishes' food group includes seeds and seed products, nuts, and nut products.

Selected non-alcoholic beverages

This publication makes use of customised groupings to define relevant categories of non-alcoholic beverages including 'Sugar-sweetened beverages', 'Intense-sweetened beverages' and 'Other non-alcoholic beverages'. These categories are defined by regrouping selected AUSNUT codes and are provided in the table below. 

Download
Custom beverage groupAUSNUT CodeAUSNUT Description
Sugar sweetened beverages11307Fruit drinks (ready to drink or made from concentrate)
 11308Vegetable drinks
 11309Fruit drink, prepared from dry powder
 11401Cordials, made from concentrate
 11403Cordial concentrate
 11501Soft drinks, non-cola
 11503Soft drinks, cola
 11505Flavoured mineral waters
 11603Energy drinks
 11703Purchased packaged water, fortified
 11601001Sports drink, ready to drink, all flavours
 11601003Sports drink, prepared from dry powder, weaker than standard dilution, all flavours
 11602001Sports drink, dry powder, all flavours
Intense sweetened beverages11402Cordials, made from concentrate, intense sweetened
 11404Cordial concentrate, intense sweetened
 11502Soft drinks, non-cola, intense sweetened
 11504Soft drinks, cola, intense sweetened
 11604Energy drinks, intense sweetened
 11601002Sports drink, ready to drink, sugar free, all flavours
Other non-alcoholic beverages11301Fruit juices, commercially prepared
 11302Fruit juices, freshly-squeezed
 11303Fruit juices, fortified
 11304Vegetable juices
 11305Vegetable juices, freshly squeezed
 11306Fruit and vegetable juice blends
 11702Purchased packaged water including mineral water

Serves

The Australian Dietary Guidelines (ADG) recommends Australians consume a minimum number serves per day of particular foods within the five food groups. The gram or millilitre amount that makes up a serve varies depending on the food. For examples of serve sizes, refer to Guideline 2 within the Eat for Health Australian Dietary Guidelines Summary.

Because many processed foods are multi-ingredient foods (and may contain a mix of vegetables, cereal, fruit, meat or dairy foods), it was necessary to create a database specifying the amounts of each of the five food groups for each of the approximately 5,700 unique foods in AUSNUT 2011-13. Development of the ADG database was undertaken by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) who designed the protocol and classification for assigning proportions foods to food groups. This database complements the underlying nutrient database and may be accessed along with the detailed explanatory notes from the FSANZ website

Snack foods

The 'Snack foods' food group includes potato chips, popcorn, corn chips, cheese and bacon balls, and pretzels.

Sodium

Sodium is a mineral which occurs in a number of different forms but is generally consumed as sodium chloride (commonly known as 'salt'). It is naturally occurring in many foods and is also found in some food additives. The major dietary source of sodium is processed foods, as salt is often added in food processing, and to a lesser extent salt added during cooking or at the table.

Soup

The 'Soup' food group includes dry and canned soups, as well as soups purchased ready-to-eat.

Special dietary foods

The 'Special dietary foods' food group includes formula dietary foods (e.g. protein powders, meal replacement shakes and meal replacement bars).

Sugar-sweetened beverages

The 'Sugar-sweetened beverages' group includes cordials, soft drinks and flavoured mineral waters, energy and electrolyte drinks, fortified waters, and fruit and vegetable drinks that contain added sugar (typically sucrose). This group excludes fruit and vegetable juices, which have been captured in the 'other non-alcoholic beverages' food group. See 'Selected beverages' in this Glossary for a full breakdown of inclusions in the 'Sugar-sweetened beverages' group.

Sugar products and dishes

The 'Sugar products and dishes' food group includes sugar, honey, syrups, jam, chocolate spreads / sauces, as well as dishes and products other than confectionary where sugar is the major component (e.g. pavlova and meringue).

Sweetened beverages

Sweetened beverages refer to cordials, soft drinks and flavoured mineral waters, electrolytes, energy drinks, fortified waters, and fruit and vegetable drinks that either contain added sugar or have been artificially sweetened. See 'Selected beverages' in this Glossary for a full breakdown of inclusions in the 'Sugar-sweetened beverages' and 'Intense-sweetened beverages' groups.

Suggested Dietary Target

The Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand include the Suggested Dietary Target (SDT) for some nutrients which is the daily average intake at a population level that may reduce chronic disease risk.

 

 

Total fat

Total fat includes the fatty acids reported on in this release as well as some fats not separately reported on, such as non-fatty acid components of triglycerides, phospholipids, sterols and waxes.

Total sugars

Total sugars are the sum of fructose, glucose, sucrose, maltose, lactose and galactose.

Vegetable products and dishes

The 'Vegetable products and dishes' food group includes vegetables and dishes where vegetables are the major component, for example salad or vegetable casserole.

Quality declaration

Institutional environment

For information on the institutional environment of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), including the legislative obligations of the ABS, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.

The Apparent Consumption of Selected Foodstuffs, Australia series is designed to provide trend information on foodstuffs purchased through food retail outlets. This publication for 2019-20 is the second annual release in this series, however, ABS is unable to commit to continuing the collection beyond 2019-20 until an ongoing funding allocation can be secured. 

Relevance

Over time, the data will provide insights to the changing nature of the food supply and food consumption preferences. Although these estimates cannot tell us about the patterns of particular population groups (e.g. by age and sex) it will facilitate the ongoing monitoring of food consumption, which has been a key data gap between the infrequent (yet more detailed) national nutrition surveys (1995 NNS2011–12 NNPAS).

The data are expected to facilitate analyses of a range of issues including monitoring dietary risk factors, such as the apparent consumption of particular discretionary foods or foods regarded as providing health benefits. It will also provide broad estimates of nutrients available from the apparent consumption of foods and the proportion of energy being derived from macronutrients such as fat (including types of fats), carbohydrate (including added sugars) and protein. While alcohol (ethanol) is also a macronutrient supplying energy, alcohol beverage consumption is out of scope in these estimates as it is not available in the scanner data provided to the ABS.

Timeliness

The Apparent Consumption of Selected Foodstuffs, Australia, 2019–20 was compiled using ABS and non-ABS data sources (see Explanatory Notes) from varying reference periods based on availability and quality. The baseline year of the imputation (adjustment) to account for foods and beverages purchased from non-major retailers is 2015–16 (financial year). 

Accuracy

Data for the Apparent Consumption of Selected Foodstuffs, Australia, 2019–20 were obtained mainly from industry, with additional data sourced from other ABS collections. Industry data (scanner data), while considered comprehensive, have varying degrees of detail for specific food products which can impact coding accuracy. An adjustment (i.e. weighting) has been applied to the coded food items to account for the ~4% of food items that were unable to be coded. The quantities of foods purchased from the non-major retailers (not contributing to the SD provided to ABS) are indirectly estimated using household expenditure data and is therefore subject to sampling error. Both the coding and scope adjustments used to enhance the SD data are subject to assumptions and have known limitations. 
This publication includes revisions to the previously released estimates for 2018-19.  The revisions reflect adjustments to the coding (particularly improved accuracy of product weights/volumes and the coding of additional food and beverage products).  These revisions ensure comparability with 2019-20 data.  For more information on the methodology and its limitations please see Explanatory Notes.

Coherence

Foods and non-alcoholic beverages in the Apparent Consumption of Selected Foodstuffs, Australia, 2019–20 (cat. no. 4316.0) are defined primarily using the 2011–13 AUSNUT database which was developed for the 2011–13 Australian Health Survey. In addition to providing an established food classification, AUSNUT contains comprehensive nutrient data for each food and links to other established metadata including information about the amounts of Australian Dietary Guidelines (ADG) Five Food Groups within any food. This alignment means that conceptually the data can be used for similar food and nutrient analyses as a national nutrition survey. There are however important differences which should be considered due to the differing nature of foods as purchased (scanner data) and food reported as consumed (nutrition surveys). This conceptual difference in addition to the narrower scope of the collection (i.e. excluding foods from restaurants, cafes and take-away sources, home produced and wild harvested foods, and the exclusion of alcoholic beverages) means caution should be used in making comparisons to results from the 2011–13 Australian Health Survey. 

Interpretability

The Main Findings section provides extensive analysis and commentary. This section uses commentary and graphs to guide reader understanding and interpretation of the detailed data tables. The Explanatory Notes provide further guidance on the data used, along with links to supporting information and publications relating to the concepts, methodologies and data sources. 

Accessibility

The data contained in this publication does not comprise the full detail of data available for the Apparent Consumption of Selected Foodstuffs, Australia, 2019–20. For instance, the lowest level of the classification may be regrouped to provide estimates of particular food groupings. However, given the potential commercial value of this data (supplied by industry), ABS has committed to only release publicly accessible data from this collection. Therefore it would not be possible to provide any further information beyond what is presented in the publication. There is however scope for focused analyses on selected food groups based on public health nutrition priorities, and any such analysis will be published as additional information to this publication. Tables contained in this publication are available in spreadsheet format in the Data downloads section. For more detail on the publication please contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070. The ABS Privacy Policy outlines how the ABS will handle any personal information that you provide to us.