The NOVA Food Classification System

NOVA. The star shines bright

NOVA is the food classification that categorises foods according to the extent and purpose of food processing, rather than in terms of nutrients. In recent decades some attention has been paid to the increasing importance of food processing in global food supplies and dietary patterns, and its role in the pandemics of diet-related non-communicable diseases. But the specific types of processing that modify food attributes and risks of disease – either negatively or positively – have not been precisely defined.

Food processing has remained a side issue.

Set out here in its adjusted and refined form, NOVA (a name, not an acronym) classifies all foods and food products into four clearly distinct and in our view meaningful groups. It specifies which foods belong in which group, and provides precise definitions of the types of processing underlying each group.

NOVA is now recognised as a valid tool for nutrition and public health research, policy and action, in reports from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Pan American Health Organization.
We owe thanks to many colleagues throughout the world for support in the work set out here, for responses to our papers and other publications published since 2009, and for discussions during conferences and other meetings at which NOVA and its implications have been presented.

The NOVA Food Classification System.pdf (486.3 KB)

Monteiro CA, Cannon G, Levy RB, Moubarac J-C, Jaime P, Martins AP, Canella D, Louzada ML, Parra D; with Ricardo C, Calixto G, Machado P, Martins C, Martinez E, Baraldi L, Garzillo J, Sattamini I. NOVA. The star shines bright. [Food classification. Public health]. World Nutrition January-March 2016, 7, 1-3, 28-38. Contributions to World Nutrition are owned by their authors.

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