Nestle admits 60 percent of its products are unhealthy, aims to increase nutrition level-India News , Firstpost

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

The Nestle logo is pictured on the company headquarters entrance building in Vevey, Switzerland February 18, 2016. REUTERS/Pierre Albouy/Files

Swiss FMCG major Nestle SA said it is looking across its entire portfolio to increase the nutrient profile of its products, following international media reports that 60 percent of the company’s mainstream food and drinks portfolio failed to meet a “recognised definition of health” and nutrition. Nestle is working on 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 its nutritional needs and supporting a balanced diet, a Nestle SA spokesperson said.

On Monday, Financial Times reported that the majority of Nestle’s ‘s mainstream food and drinks portfolio failed to meet recognised standards of health and nutrition.

“The world’s largest food company, Nestle, has acknowledged that more than 60 percent of its mainstream food and drinks products do not meet a “recognised definition of healthy and that some of our categories and products will never be healthy no matter how much we renovate”, the Financial Times report said quoting a Nestle document.

A presentation circulated among top executives this year, seen by the Financial Times, said that only 37 percent 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 percent of Nestle’s food products failed to meet that threshold, the presentation said, along with 96 percent of beverages — excluding pure coffee — and 99 percent of Nestle’s confectionery and ice cream portfolio,” the media report noted.

While issuing a global statement, Nestle — maker of KitKat, Maggi noodles and Nescafe — 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 ent 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.

He further noted that “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, specialized health products and pet food, which follow regulated nutrition standards,” 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, ” it said.

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 Rs 13,290.16 crore for 2020.

Nestle had last year in October said it will invest Rs 2,600 crore further into India over the next three to four years on expansion of the existing units and towards the construction of its 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.

“Nestle 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 Nestle India spokesperson said.

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