Nutrition ranking exposes hollow claims of global food companies

71% of Nestlé’s product portfolio evaluated didn’t meet the Health Star Rating to be classed as wholesome. Keystone / Laurent Gillieron

Swiss meals big Nestlé retained its high spot in a world diet rating of the largest meals and beverage producers regardless of solely 29% of its merchandise assessed as wholesome.  

This content material was revealed on July 1, 2021 – 14:14

On Monday, the Access To Nutrition Initiative (ATNI) revealed its fourth ever Global IndexExternal link that ranks the world’s 25 largest meals and beverage producers on the idea of their dedication to wholesome diet. Nestlé held onto the primary place it acquired in 2018, intently adopted by Unilever.  The Global Index evaluates firms over seven classes, together with product portfolio, labelling, governance, advertising, accessibility, worker existence and engagement. 

“Nestlé’s high place is recognition of its longstanding dedication to diet and well being in addition to its engagement to assist deal with the worldwide challenges of weight problems and undernutrition,” the corporate mentioned in a press launch.   

However, a more in-depth have a look at the winner’s efficiency exhibits that processed meals producers have a protracted strategy to go earlier than their merchandise might be known as wholesome choices. The rating checked out 2,760 merchandise bought by Nestlé internationally. Of these, solely 29% had been discovered to be wholesome. To be classed as wholesome, a product should rating at the very least 3.5 out of a most of 5 within the Health Star Rating (HSR) utilized in Australia and New Zealand to assist shoppers examine packaged meals merchandise.   

A HSR of three.5 (the minimal wanted to be categorized as wholesome) would require 100g of the product to have not more than 1,020kJ of vitality, 1g of fats, 2.1g of sugar and 645mg of sodium and at the very least 8g of fibre. Thus, 71% of the Nestlé portfolio evaluated didn’t meet this requirement.  

Nestlé’s comparatively higher efficiency in comparison with different opponents was not all right down to efforts to enhance the diet profile of its merchandise. The enchancment of its imply HSR rating throughout eight chosen international locations from 1.8 in 2018 to 2.7 in 2021 is one such instance.  

“This might be largely attributed to the divestment of much less wholesome classes, i.e. Ice Cream in Mexico and Ice Cream and Confectionery within the USA,” mentioned ATNI on its web site.  

In addition, Nestlé’s HSR for some its hottest merchandise resembling breakfast cereals, dairy, and sauces, dressings and condiments had been decrease than the common for firms assessed in these classes.  

Company response 

“You point out the share of distinct merchandise, however in the event you have a look at proportion of gross sales derived from wholesome merchandise, the share of wholesome merchandise improves to 43%. This is a crucial measure, because it exhibits the place shoppers are going and the place we’re placing our efforts,” an organization spokesperson instructed SWI  

The consultant additionally identified that the Nestlé sells a wider vary of meals merchandise than many of the different firms within the rankings, together with indulgent ones like confectionery which are much less prone to be wholesome. In addition, a few of its vital classes like toddler diet and pure espresso aren’t assessed by HSR which suggests as much as half its portfolio is excluded from the analysis. 

Nestlé made headlines in May when the media acquired maintain of a presentation circulated to executives that acknowledged that 60% of its mainstream merchandise couldn’t be known as wholesome and can by no means turn out to be so. The presentation additionally acknowledged that 37% of its product portfolio obtain a HSR of three.5. 

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