Multinationals fail their healthy food claims

Multinationals fail their healthy food claims

Food multinationals are not doing enough to make their products more healthy, according to Access to Nutrition Foundation. NestléUnilever and Danone are top of the class.

Good and bad news

Multinational food companies have a major impact on millions of people’s eating habits, which is why Global Access to Nutrition Index (ATNI) researches how the 22 largest food companies contribute to issues like obesity and malnourishment. Even though a lot of companies claim their products have become healthier, an analysis of 23,000 products in nine countries showcases that only a third of those can actually be called healthy. The manufacturers’ definition of healthy is obviously much more lenient. Unilever, for instance, claims 35 % of its food is healthy, but reality shows that is only 10 %.

Nestlé leads the ranking with above-average performances in every one of the index’ categories and improvements in nearly every field. Unilever is second, Danone third. FrieslandCampina jumps up four spots, partially because of a more responsible marketing strategy. Nine companies received a rating of 5 (out of 10) or more, compared to only two in 2016. The average rating also improved, from 2.5 to 3.3, which is still rather low.

“There is good and bad news”, Access to Nutrition Foundation’s Executive Director Inge Kauer said. “We see evidence that a number of companies are upping their commitments to tackle various aspects of the nutrition challenge, but companies need to get better at ‘walking the talk’ and in particular need to set clear and verifiable targets for improving the healthiness of their product ranges.”