Nestlé said in an internal presentation to top executives that, according to a report, over half of its traditional packaged food business is not “healthy”
- Most of Nestlé’s traditional foods and beverages do not meet a “recognized definition of health”.
- Only 37% of consumer food and beverage products meet international health standards.
- The global food company acknowledged the problem in an internal presentation by the Financial Times.
More than 60% of Nestlé’s traditionally packaged food and beverage products do not meet internationally recognized health standards, according to internal corporate documents from the Financial Times.
“Some of our categories and products will never be ‘healthy’ no matter how much we renovate,” the company said in a presentation seen by top executives at the world’s largest food company. CEO Mark Schneider told Bloomberg in September that the company is continuously investing in the health of its products, but “Sweets and chocolate address a deep human need and will be here to stay”. The definition of “healthy” comes from the Australian Health Star Rating System, which rates products on a five-star scale and is used by international researchers including the Access to Nutrition Foundation. A product must achieve at least 3.5 stars to be considered healthy.
Metrics like the Health Star System “enable consumers to make informed decisions. However, they do not capture everything, “a company spokesman said in a statement to Insider. “About half of our sales are not covered by these systems. These include categories such as infant formula, specialty health products, and pet foods that follow regulated nutritional standards.”
“We believe that eating healthy means finding a balance between wellbeing and enjoyment. This also includes having some space for enjoyable food that is consumed in moderation, ”added the spokesman.
The presentation highlighted the statistics of some of the most unhealthy products made and sold by Nestlé’s own brands.
A serving of Hot Pockets pepperoni pizza contains a whopping 48 percent of your daily sodium requirement, closely followed by DiGiorno’s three-meat croissant crust pizza that contains 40 percent. To combine saltiness with sweetness, Nestlé also offers an orange-flavored San Pellegrino drink with 7.1g sugar per 100ml and Nesquik’s strawberry-flavored milk powder with 14g sugar in a 14g serving. “Strawberry Nesquik is perfect for breakfast to get kids ready for the day,” says Nestlé in its marketing copy for the product.
“We have significantly improved our products … [but] In a landscape where regulatory pressure and consumer demands are skyrocketing, our portfolio still underperforms external health definitions, ”the presentation said.
Professor Marion Nestle (no relationship), who researches nutritional science at Cornell, told the FT that a healthy portfolio is likely out of reach for large public companies like Nestlé.
“The job of food companies is to make money for shareholders, as quickly and as much as possible,” she said. “You’re going to sell products that will reach a mass audience and be bought by as many people as possible that people want to buy, and that is junk food.”
“Nestlé is a very smart company, at least from my meetings with people who are into their science [departments] … but they have a real problem, “she added.” Scientists have worked for years figuring out how to reduce salt and sugar without changing the taste profile, and guess what is hard to do . “