Nestle agrees 60% of its products are not so healthy: report
04 June 2021
Swiss food giant, the maker of Maggie instant noodles and Kit Kat chocolates, is reported to be undertaking a review of its entire product portfolio to increase the nutrient profile of its products, after the company reportedly admitted that 60 per cent of its mainstream food and drinks portfolio failed to meet a "recognised definition of health" and nutrition.
Nestle is working on a project to update its nutrition and health strategy across its entire brands, say reports.
The company is looking to ensure that its products are helping to meet their nutritional needs and supporting a balanced diet, a Nestlé SA spokesperson said.
"The world's largest food company, Nestlé, has acknowledged that more than 60 per cent of its mainstream food and drinks products do not meet a 'recognised definition of health' and that 'some of our categories and products will never be healthy’ no matter how much we renovate", the Financial Times reported on Monday quoting a Nestle document. The reports was based on a presentation circulated among top executives this year, which said that only 37 per cent of Nestle's food and beverages by revenues, excluding products such as pet food and specialised medical nutrition, achieved a rating above 3.5 under Australia’s health star rating system.
"Within its overall food and drink portfolio, about 70 per cent of Nestlé’s food products failed to meet that threshold, the presentation said, along with 96 per cent of beverages - excluding pure coffee - and 99 per cent of Nestlé’s confectionery and ice cream portfolio," the FT report noted.
While issuing a global statement, Nestle said it is working on a company-wide project to update its nutrition and health strategy. "We are looking at our entire portfolio across the different phases of people’s lives to ensure our products are helping meet their nutritional needs and supporting a balanced diet," he said. For example, Nestle has reduced the sugar and sodium content in its products significantly in the past two decades, about 14-15 per cent in the past 7 years alone. "In recent years, we have launched thousands of products for kids and families that meet external nutrition yardsticks," he said, adding, "We have also distributed billions of micronutrient doses via our affordable and nutritious products. As we consider our future nutrition strategy, we are first focusing on assessing the part of our food and beverage portfolio that can be measured against external nutrition profiling systems". Systems like the Health Star Rating and Nutri-Score are useful in this regard and enable consumers to make informed choices. "However, they don’t capture everything. About half of our sales are not covered by these systems. That includes categories such as infant nutrition, specialised health products and pet food, which follow regulated nutrition standards," he said.
Nestle said it believes that a healthy diet means finding a balance between well-being and enjoyment. "This includes having some space for indulgent foods, consumed in moderation. Our direction of travel has not changed and is clear: we will continue to make our portfolio tastier and healthier, " it said.
In India, Nestle is one of the leading players in the packaged food category, operating eight production units with combined sales of Rs13,290.16 crore in 2020. Nestle had, in October last year, announced plans to invest Rs2,600 crore in India over the next three to four years on expansion of the existing units and new upcoming unit at Sanand, Gujarat. The Indian market was ranked at number 11 in terms of contribution to Nestle’s global revenue in 2020.
"Nestlé India believes that nutrition is a fundamental need and the food industry has a vital role to play in enabling healthier lives. Driven by our purpose, we are constantly striving to increase the nutrient profile of our products, as well as innovate with new and nutritious offerings," a Nestlé India spokesperson said.