All posts by Kim Vuong

Marketplace Changes in the Baby Food Aisle Abstract

Marketplace Changes in the Baby Food Aisle. Jennifer Stevenson, Bhaskarani Jasthi, PhD RD, Kristine Schmitz, Janet Pettit, and Lisa Harnack, DrPH RD. University of Minnesota Nutrition Coordinating Center.


Objective: To describe changes between 2009 and 2018 in the following characteristics of baby food products offered in the US by leading manufacturers: products labeled as ‘organic’; products sold in pouches; dry cereals containing whole grain ingredients; and complexity (inclusion of multiple ingredients).

Materials and Methods: The University of Minnesota Nutrition Coordinating Center (NCC) Food and Nutrient Database includes baby foods sold by leading manufacturers in the US, and this food category was updated in 2018 to reflect the current marketplace. To examine changes in baby food products over time the products offered in 2018 were compared with products in the database when this product category was updated in 2009. Manufacturers included in the database in both 2009 and 2018 include Gerber, Beech-Nut, and Earth’s Best. In 2018 baby food products sold by several additional manufacturers were added (Plum Organics, Ella’s Kitchen, and Happy Family).

Results: When comparing data from 2009 to 2018, Beech-Nut, Earth’s Best, and Gerber increased the number of baby food products they offer.  Beech-Nut and Gerber increased the number of products labeled as ‘organic’ while other manufacturers sell only organic foods (e.g. Earth’s Best and Plum Organics). Most of the dry cereals in the market today contain one or more whole grain ingredients, with a notable increase for Gerber (from 25% to 72% of their dry cereals). While pouches did not exist in the marketplace in 2009 for the major manufacturers, currently all of the companies in the NCC database sell some or all of their products in pouches. Baby foods that combine multiple ingredients (e.g. fruit and vegetable ingredients) are more common now than in 2009.

Significance: The NCC Food and Nutrient Database has been updated to reflect changes to assist researchers studying the diets of infants and young children.


Addition of Gluten to a Food and Nutrient Database Abstract

Addition of Gluten to a Food and Nutrient Database. Bhaskarani Jasthi, PhD RD, Janet Pettit, and Lisa Harnack, DrPH RD. University of Minnesota Nutrition Coordinating Center.


Background: Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and their crossbred varieties and derivatives. It is responsible for triggering hypersensitivity reactions in people with celiac disease, and research is underway to determine whether it may contribute to other health outcomes.

Objective: Add gluten to the Nutrition Coordinating Center (NCC) Food and Nutrient Database so that researchers conducting studies related to gluten may assess intake of this food component.

Description: Few foods have been chemically analyzed for their gluten content. Consequently, gluten values were assigned to foods in the NCC Food and Nutrient Database using imputation procedures based on two assumptions. The first is that foods that do not include any wheat, rye or barley grain ingredients or their derivatives are presumed to contain 0 grams of gluten. Thus, foods such as fruits, vegetables, and vegetable oils were assigned gluten values of 0 grams.

The second is that a specified fraction of protein found in wheat, rye, barley and their crossbred varieties and derivatives (0.75) is presumed to be gluten. The factor of 0.75 was selected based on findings from studies in which chemical analysis of some gluten containing grains and their derivatives were carried out to estimate the percentage of gluten. It is important to note that gluten values in the NCC Database may not be appropriate for use in determining whether a food or diet is gluten-free because foods with “zero” values may not meet the FDA definition of gluten-free (<20 parts per million of gluten). However, the values may be useful in determining whether a food or diet is low, moderate or high in gluten.

Conclusion: The approach used to add gluten to the NCC Database may be a useful model for other database developers, though the approach has some limitations.




What’s New in NDSR 2017?



New-Customizable Data Fields in the Header Tab
Some of you asked if we could add fields in the header tab for entering height, weight, and other information about study participants. In response, NDSR 2017 has a new feature that allows you to include up to five customizable data fields (labeled ‘data fields’) in the header tab for records in a project. The number of data fields you wish to include may be selected in the Method Preferences tab. In addition to choosing the number of data fields you would like to include, you have the option to include a description of the information to be collected for each field (e.g. ‘height, in centimeters’, ‘weight, in kilograms’). These descriptions will appear in the header tab next to the data field for the question. Data entered using these customizable data fields are included in NDSR Output Files 04, 05, and 06; the Record Properties Report, and the Records QA Report. See Chapter 3, Managing NDSR Projects of the User Manual for instructions on how to set-up these fields.


New-Food Shape Dimension Units
Although NDSR is developed in the United States, where we use inches for our unit of measurement, we have many international clients we need to consider as well. Consequently, with this version of NDSR we have created the option to set your Project Preferences to enter shape dimension units as either inches or centimeters, with inches as the default setting.


Copy and Paste all Dietary Supplements in the Dietary Supplements Tab

We’ve added the ability to copy and paste all supplements in the dietary supplements tab at once. In the Dietary Supplements tab of the record, you can either right click any supplement listed and select “Copy All Supplements” or you can go up to the Toolbar Menu and under Edit, select “Copy All Supplements”. To paste the copied supplements, go to the desired record in the Dietary Supplements tab, either right click and select “Paste Supplements” or use the Toolbar Menu and under Edit, select “Paste Supplements.”


View Ingredients Feature Improved

We’ve streamlined the Paste Ingredients function in the View Ingredients feature that was added last year. Now, when you paste the ingredients for a food you want to modify, you no longer have to click through to confirm each ingredient. They will be automatically pasted into the new Assembled Food, so you can go directly to adjusting the ingredient(s) of interest.



Additional Program Improvements

  • The character limit for many of the Notes fields was increased to 600 characters.
  • More nutrients (up to 180) may be excluded from the Nutrient Totals and Averaged Nutrient Totals Reports.
  • The DSAM database was updated with NHANES 2013-2014 Dietary Supplement Database and NCC maintained supplements.



Food and Nutrient Database Updates and Additions


New Nutrient- Gluten

There has been growing interest in studying gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. Consequently, gluten has been added to NDSR 2017. See Appendix 11, Nutrient Information of the NDSR 2017 User Manual for details on the procedure used for estimating the gluten content of foods, and an important caveat (foods with “zero” values are not necessarily gluten-free and may not meet the FDA definition of gluten free (<20 parts per million of gluten) because of the process used to determine the nutrient composition for foods in the database).


Additional Database Improvements in NDSR 2017

  • Many new gluten free grain products added (e.g. bagels, buns, English muffin, pasta, pizza crust, roll, tortilla).
  • Sea salt is now included as a variable ingredient choice when salt in preparation is queried.
  • Isoflavones (daidzein, genistein, glycitein, coumestrol, biochanin A, and formononetin) values updated to integrate better analytic data.
  • Food and nutrient updates from USDA Standard Reference (SR) 28 completed.
  • Updates to the grain food categories from FNDDS 2011-2012 were completed.
  • Updates to the food categories of eggs, legumes, and fats from FNDDS 2013-2014 were completed.
  • Numerous food categories updated to better reflect the products available in the marketplace. Updates include:
      • The following commercial entrée brands: Amy’s, Banquet, Healthy Choice, Marie Callendar’s, Nestle, Veggie (Amy’s, Bocaburger, Gardenburger, MorningStar Farms)
      • The following fast food restaurants: Chick-fil-A, Dairy Queen, Hardee’s, KFC, McDonald’s, Sonic, Taco Bell, and Wendy’s
      • Lunchmeats & sausages (bologna, canned meats, and hot dogs)
      • General Mills ready-to-eat cereals
      • Teas

What’s New in NDSR 2016?



New-View Ingredients Feature

You asked and we responded. NDSR 2016 includes a new feature that allows you to quickly view both the ingredients and nutrients in most foods in a record. A report will display, listing the ingredients in a food and up to 5 nutrients for the food and its ingredients.


The new View Ingredients feature also allows you to edit multi-ingredient foods in a record to remove or replace ingredients. As an example, if a participant reports eating a McDonald’s hamburger but didn’t eat the bun, the bun may be removed from the participant’s record.


We’ve created three short online tutorials to help you learn how to use the View Ingredient feature. The first tutorial (NDSR Tutorial 1: View Ingredients Feature – Function and Uses) explains the ways in which the View Ingredients feature may be useful. The second tutorial (NDSR Tutorial 2: View Ingredients Feature – Opening the Report & Selecting Nutrients) shows you how to generate Food Ingredient Report, and the third (NDSR Tutorial 3 View Ingredients Feature – Editing a Food) explains how to use the feature to remove or replace ingredients in a food. Chapter 4 in the NDSR 2016 User Manual also includes detailed instructions on use of the View Ingredients feature.



Additional Program Improvements

Several additional improvements were made to program windows and functions.  Although most are minor changes (adding a backup button at the exit NDSR prompt, allow for assigning a second food group in juices), in combination, these changes improve usability.





New Foods!

As you know, every year we add new foods to the database in response to your requests. But, this year we made an extra push to add more than usual since we know this is a priority for many of you. In addition, we systematically reviewed the list of foods that require data entry rules, with an eye toward doing what we can to reduce the need for rules.


New foods you’ll find in NDSR 2016 include ciabatta bread, bruschetta, hard cider, Smucker’s Uncrustables, Cobb salad, Caprese salad, puppy chow, veggie straws, Takis, natural peanut butters, cookie butter (speculoos), tapenade, seven layer taco dip, chocolate covered strawberries, Gelato, stuffed grape leaves, and much more!


Improvements made to relevant preparation descriptions include ‘sautéed’, ‘rotisserie’ and ‘slow cooked’  to facilitate entry of meats cooked by these methods.  Also added is a ‘foil wrapped portion’ as a food specific unit option for butter.



Additional Database Improvements

Additional database improvements you’ll find in NDSR 2016 include:

  • Oxalic acid and inositol values updated to integrate better analytic data.
  • Pancake syrups updated with a sugar free option added.
  • Jams, jellies and marmalades updated.
  • Nutrient updates in USDA Standard Reference (SR) 27 completed.
  • Many food and nutrient updates in USDA SR 28 were completed.
  • Updates to the food categories of milk, meat, and vegetables from the USDA Food and Nutrient Database for Dietary Studies (FNDDS) 2011-2012.
  • Numerous food categories updated to better reflect the products available in the marketplace. Updates include:
      • The following commercial entrée brands: Chef Boyardee, Hormel, Dinty Moore, Hungry-Man, Jenny Craig, Kashi, Kid Cuisine, Michelina’s
      • The following fast food restaurants: Arby’s, Boston Market, Burger King, Chipotle, Church’s, Domino’s, Jack-In-The-Box, Little Caesars, Panda Express, Papa John’s, Subway
      • Creamers
      • Fish Sticks
      • Nectars
      • Sodas


The NDSR 2016 User Manual can be found in NDSR under the Help menu or on our website at  Hardcopy NDSR 2016 User Manuals are available upon request for a fee of $75.  To request manuals, please send an email to

New NCC Website

NCC has been working diligently on revamping our website to a more user-friendly interface, and we have launched it. All of the content from our former website has been transferred over to the new website. However, any specific bookmarks you may have for the old website will need to be updated to the corresponding location on the new website.