Nestle working on new strategy amid rising concerns on unhealthy product portfolio

By Amirtha P S, Desk Reporter
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Switzerland-based multinational food and drink processing conglomerate Nestle said that it was working on updating its nutrition and health strategy after media reports revealed the food giant’s internal document, which described a large portion of its food and drinks as unhealthy.

A recent media report said that it had seen an internal presentation circulated among top executives early this year stating that more than 60 percent of Nestle’s mainstream food and drinks portfolio could not be considered healthy under a “recognized definition of health”.

The report says that only 37 percent of Nestle’s food and beverages by revenues, excluding products like pet food and specialized medical nutrition, achieve a rating above 3.5 under Australia’s health star rating system.

According to the report, nearly 70 percent of food products, 96 percent of beverages and 99 percent of the confectionery and ice cream portfolio of Nestle failed to meet the standards of Australia’s health star rating system. While water and dairy products met the threshold and scored better.

Kepler Cheuvreux analyst Jon Cox said that including these categories would significantly reduce the proportion of products potentially considered unhealthy.

“Given the group’s confectionery, ice cream, and pizza businesses, the real figure for the group based on 2021 estimates would be 28 percent, which is hardly a surprise,” Mr.Cox stated. The report could point to changes in the product portfolio, notably an exit from mainstream confectionery.

Meanwhile, Nestle in a statement said that it was working on a “company-wide project” to update its nutrition and health strategy and was looking at its entire portfolio to make sure its products helped meet people’s nutritional needs. The company said that it had reduced sugars and sodium in its products by about 14-15 percent in the past seven years and would continue to make its products healthier.

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