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Table 2 Food classification based on the extent and purpose of processing [14]

From: A review on mechanisms and commercial aspects of food preservation and processing

Food group Extent and purpose of processing Examples
Unprocessed or minimally processed foods No processing or mostly physical processes used to make single whole foods more available, accessible, palatable, or safe Fresh, chilled, frozen, vacuum-packed fruits, vegetables, cereals; fresh frozen and dried beans and other pulses; dried fruits, unsalted nuts, and seeds; fresh, dried, chilled, frozen meats, poultry, and fish; fresh and pasteurized milk, yoghurt, eggs, tea, and coffee
Processed culinary or food industry ingredients Extraction and purification of components of foods, resulting in producing ingredients used in the preparation and cooking of dishes and meals, or in the formulation of ultra-processed foods Vegetables, butter, milk cream, sweeteners, raw pastas, and noodles; food industry ingredients, such as high-fructose corn syrup, preservatives, and cosmetic additives
Ultra-processed food products Processing of a mix of process culinary, or food industry ingredients and processed or minimally processed foodstuffs in order to produce accessible, convenient, palatable, ready-to-eat or to-heat food products with longer shelf life Breads, biscuits, cakes, and pastries; ice-cream, chocolates, cereal bars, chips; sugared fruits, milk drinks, and other soft drinks; pre-prepared meat, poultry, fish, and vegetable; processed meat including chicken nuggets, hot dogs, sausages, burgers; salted, pickled, smoked, or cured meat and fish; vegetables bottled or canned in brine; fish canned in oil