Nestle says updating health strategy after report claims 60% of its food portfolio is unhealthy

The Financial Times report on Monday quoted from a Nestle document to say the company has acknowledged that more than 60 per cent of its mainstream food and drinks products do not meet a "recognised definition of health".
The Nestle SA's Nescafe plant in Orbe, Switzerland.(Bloomberg Photo)
The Nestle SA's Nescafe plant in Orbe, Switzerland.(Bloomberg Photo)
Published on Jun 02, 2021 11:24 AM IST
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By | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Nestle, the Swiss FMCG major, has said that it is reviewing its entire portfolio to update the nutrition and health strategy. The development comes days after a report in Financial Times claimed the majority of Nestlé's mainstream food and drinks portfolio failed to meet recognised standards of health and nutrition.

The Financial Times report on Monday quoted from a Nestle document to say the company has acknowledged that more than 60 per cent of its mainstream food and drinks products do not meet a "recognised definition of health".

On Tuesday, Nestle said it has launched a company-wide project to update its nutrition and health strategy. "It is looking at its entire portfolio to ensure that its products are helping meet their nutritional needs and supporting a balanced diet," a Nestle SA spokesperson 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, the spokesperson added. "In recent years, we have launched thousands of products for kids and families that meet external nutrition yardsticks," he said.

According to Nestle, 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," the company said.

Nestle is the maker of KitKat, Maggi and Nescafe - some of the popular food brands.

The Financial Times said that it has seen 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, achieve a rating above 3.5 under Australia’s health star rating system.

"Within its overall food and drink portfolio, about 70 per cent of Nestle’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 Nestle’s confectionery and ice cream portfolio," the media report further stated.

Systems like the health star rating and nutri-score are useful in this regard and enable consumers to make informed choices.

In India, Nestle is one of the leading players into the packaged food category. It presently operates eight production units in India and had reported net sales of 13,290.16 crore for 2020.

The Indian market was ranked at number 11 in terms of contribution to Nestle’s global revenue in 2020.

(With inputs from agencies)

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