Nestle acknowledged in an internal document that more than 60 percent 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”.
A presentation circulated among top executives early this year, seen by the Financial Times, says only 37 per cent of Nestlé’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.
This system scores foods out of five stars and is used in research by international groups such as the Access to Nutrition Foundation.
Nestlé, the maker of KitKats, Maggi noodles and Nescafe, describes the 3.5 star threshold as a “recognised definition of health”.
Within its overall food and drink portfolio, some 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.
Water and dairy products scored better, with 82 per cent of waters and 60 per cent of dairy meeting the threshold.
“We have made significant improvements to our products . . .[but] our portfolio still underperforms against external definitions of health in a landscape where regulatory pressure and consumer demands are skyrocketing,” the presentation said.
The data excludes baby formula, pet food, coffee, and the health science division, which makes foods for people with specific medical conditions. This means the data accounts for about half of Nestlé’s 92.6 billion Swiss francs (€84.35 billion) total annual revenues. ■
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