Nestle, the world’s largest food company admits that more than 60% of its mainstream products are not healthy.
The food and beverage items produced by the company do not meet a “recognised definition of health”.
They reported that “some of our categories and products will never be ‘healthy’ no matter how much we renovate”.
According to a presentation circulated among the top executives this year, only 37% of Nestle’s products by revenue achieved a rating above 3.5 under Australia’s health star rating system.
As per the report, Nestle, the maker of KitKat, Maggi and Nescafe, describes the 3.5-star threshold as a “recognised definition of health”.
The report said that within its overall food and drink portfolio, about 70% of Nestle’s food products failed to meet that threshold, the presentation said, along with 96% of beverages — excluding pure coffee — and 99% of Nestle’s confectionery and ice cream portfolio.
Other variety of products such as water and dairy, scored a little better, with 82% and 60% products meeting the threshold respectively.
“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 collected excludes baby formula, pet food, coffee and the health science service division, which produces food for people with specific medical problems.
Recently, the company might be considering making new commitments on nutrition for the future. It is also upgrading its internal nutrition standards, known as Nestle Nutrition Foundation, introduced by former chief executive Peter Brabeck-Letmathe.
He characterized the company as a “nutrition, health and wellness company”.
As acknowledged by the current chief executive, Mark Schneider the consumers want a nutritious diet but rejected claims that “processed” food, including those made by Nestle and other multinationals, tend to be unhealthy.
However, it is also seen that Nestle products such as a DiGiorno, three meat croissant crust pizza, includes about 40% of a person’s recommended daily allowance of sodium. And the Hot Pockets pepperoni pizza contains 48% of sodium.
Moreover, an orange-flavoured San Pellegrino drink scored an ‘E’. It’s the worst mark available under the scoring system called Nutri-Score.
This means that it contains more than 7.1 grams of sugar per 100 ml (according to the reports).
Also, Nestle’s strawberry-flavoured Nesquik (sold in the US) contains 14 grams of sugar in a 14-gram serving, although it is to be mixed with milk. It is described as “perfect at breakfast to get kids ready for the day”.
Nestle said it “is working on a company-wide project to update its pioneering 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”.