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Table 1 Food classification based on the extent and purpose of industrial processing; from [1]

From: Association between home food preparation skills and behaviour, and consumption of ultra-processed foods: Cross-sectional analysis of the UK National Diet and nutrition survey (2008–2009)

Groups Definitions Examples
Group 1: Unprocessed or minimally processed foods No processing or mostly physical processes used to make single whole foods more durable, accessible, convenient, palatable or safe Fresh, chilled, frozen, vacuum-packed fruits, vegetables, fungi, roots and tubers; grains (cereals) in general; fresh, frozen and dried beans and other pulses (legumes); dried fruits and 100% unsweetened fruit juices; unsalted nuts and seeds; fresh, dried, chilled, frozen meats, poultry and fish; fresh and pasteurized milk, fermented milk such as plain yoghurt; eggs; teas, coffee, herb infusions, tap water, bottled spring water
Group 2: Processed ingredients Extraction and purification of components of single whole foods, resulting in producing ingredients used in the preparation and cooking of dishes and meals made up from Group 1 foods in homes or traditional restaurants, or else in the formulation by manufacturers of Group 3 foods Vegetable oils, margarine, butter, milk cream lard; sugar, sweeteners in general; salt; starches, flours, and “raw” pastas and noodles (made from flour with the addition only of water); and food industry ingredients usually not sold to consumers as such, including high fructose corn syrup, lactose, milk and soy proteins, gums, and preservatives and cosmetic additives
Group 3: Ultra-processed food products Processing of a mix of Group 2 ingredients and Group 1 foodstuffs in order to create durable, accessible, convenient, and palatable ready-to-eat or to-heat food products liable to be consumed as snacks or desserts or to replace home-prepared dishes Breads, biscuits (cookies), cakes and pastries; ice cream; jams (preserves); fruits canned in syrup; chocolates, confectionery (candies), cereal bars, breakfast cereals with added sugar; chips, crisps; sauces; savoury and sweet snack products; cheeses; sugared fruit and milk drinks and sugared and “no-cal” cola, and other soft drinks; frozen pasta and pizza dishes; pre-prepared meat, poultry, fish, vegetable and other “recipe” dishes; processed meat including chicken nuggets, hot dogs, sausages, burgers, fish sticks; canned or dehydrated soups, stews and pot noodle, salted, pickled, smoked or cured meat and fish; vegetables bottled or canned in brine, fish canned in oil; infant formulas, follow-on milks, baby food