Nestlé would like to thank the UN Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN) for the opportunity to comment on maximizing the impact of the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition.
Nutrition has been the very cornerstone of Nestlé for more than 150 years. It started at the very beginning, in 1867, when the company was founded on the success of an infant cereal aimed at alleviating infant mortality. And to this day, Nestlé still aims to enhance lives with science-based nutrition and health solutions for all stages of life, helping consumers care for themselves and their families.
Nestlé therefore fully embraces the UN Decade of Action, which closely aligns with the company’s philosophy of Creating Shared Value for society and enhancing the future nutrition, health and wellness of individuals and families. But to fully maximize the impact of this action, it is important to note that collaboration across sectors is essential. Eliminating hunger and malnutrition are large, complex tasks. But bringing together all areas of society – including the private sector – provides the greatest number of resources and knowledge to ensure the development of workable, sustainable solutions to these multifaceted issues. And Nestlé is committed to working with stakeholders from all of areas of society to help accelerate and meet the Decade of Action goals of eradicating hunger and eliminating all forms of malnutrition by 2030.
In fact, Nestlé is already working in many areas that support these goals. And incorporating learnings and effective aspects of relevant programming and resources, along with the work of other stakeholders, can help create a comprehensive, effective plan that ensures the achievement of the Decade of Action. Some of these relevant initiatives, which are described in detail below, include:
- Providing people with more nutritious products through fortification and nutritional profiling
- Supplying greater nutrition education to children throughout the world
- Ensuring responsible marketing to children that supports good health
- Guiding consumers to more appropriate portions for a healthy diet
- Practicing more responsible resource and water use
More Nutritious Products
Micronutrient deficiency is a common public health problem, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. To address this problem, Nestlé has focused its work on developing foods and beverages designed to provide nourishment, especially for children and women of childbearing age. In 2015, Nestlé delivered 192 billion micronutrient-fortified products to help alleviate deficiencies and also launched a Policy on Micronutrient Fortification, which promotes fortification at levels that improve health without risking adverse consequences from excess consumption.
In addition, Nestlé has further improved the nutritional composition of its food and beverage products by using the Nestlé Nutritional Profiling System, a system based on nutrition science and public health recommendations from around the world. This system was designed to evaluate and constantly optimize the nutritional value of food and beverage products. A food or beverage must meet all the criteria to attain “Yes” status, meaning that it is considered appropriate for consumers as part of a healthy diet. To date, 100% of our children’s products portfolio have obtained “Yes” status, thereby ensuring better nutrition to the youngest consumers.
Greater Nutrition Education
Beyond product development, Nestlé also aims to help children understand the role that nutrition plays in their lives and how to balance good nutrition with an active lifestyle. One way we do this is through the Nestlé Healthy Kids Global Programme, which focuses on nutrition education and physical activity, providing information on balanced diets, positive approaches to food and practical advice on improving eating habits to kids around the world. To date, we’ve activated 84 of these programs, delivering important dietary and health information to over 8 million children across the globe.
Responsible Marketing to Kids
In light of the dramatic rise in childhood obesity over the past decades, the 2011 UN Summit on non-communicable diseases called on the private sector to reduce the impact of the marketing of products high in salt, sugar and fat to children. To support of this call to action, Nestlé participates in a wide variety of industry activities aimed at furthering responsible advertising to consumers such as those carried out by International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the International Food and Beverage Alliance (IFBA). This includes voluntary advertising to children initiatives in the United States, across the twenty seven countries of the European Union, the six countries of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, and in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Russia, India, the Philippines, South Africa, Switzerland and Thailand. These industry “pledges” are subject to third party compliance monitoring and recent surveys demonstrate general compliance rates are above 96%. Nestlé’s track record in self-regulation, as a complement to legislation, is excellent.
Better Portion Guidance
At Nestlé, we want to provide consumers with user-friendly information rather than abstract dietary recommendations. Nestlé Portion Guidance is a voluntary initiative designed to bridge international dietary recommendations (e.g., food guides) and nutrition labelling recommendations to guide consumers to more appropriate portions for a healthier diet. Through product form, pack design, clear illustration and, occasionally, a serving device or dispensing machine, we are helping reframe portion norms, especially in energy-dense categories where regular servings may have increased over time.
More Sustainable Practices
Beyond nutrition, Nestlé also focuses on water, because water scarcity is a very serious issue in many parts of the world and water is, quite simply, the linchpin of food security. To support greater accessibility to safe, clean water, Nestlé is committed to using water more efficiently and facilitate responsible stewardship in catchments where we source water or ingredients, and where we have facilities. Nestlé won the Global Water Awards Corporate Stewardship award for its zero water technology, enabling dairy factories to operate without using local ground water.
Food waste is another a critical, global problem that is closely tied to food security. Nestlé played a key role in developing the first global standard to help companies and governments reduce food loss and waste. Launched at the 3GF Global Green Growth Forum in Copenhagen, the Food Loss and Waste Accounting and Reporting Standard was developed by the multi-stakeholder Food Loss and Waste Protocol. And the company recently published its own public commitment to help reduce food loss and waste to support food security.
Private sector actions, such as the ones listed above, would be beneficial in helping support the goals of the Decade of Action on Nutrition. But in order to properly monitor the effectiveness of this work, the private sector should be provided with example measures of success for each action, along with interim targets to track progress. These measures will help ensure forward movement and encourage acceleration by our company and the rest of industry, if needed.
Nestlé is committed to working with governments and all parts of society, both private and public, to help accelerate and achieve the goals of the Decade of Action on Nutrition. We thank you for this opportunity to offer consultation on maximizing the impact of the Decade of Action on Nutrition and we look forward to helping make these goals a reality.
Chavanne Hanson, MPH, RD, LD
Deputy Head for Global Public Affairs