Nestlé admits over 60 percent of consumer products rate as ‘unhealthy’: Report

*Officials say the company is focusing on a new nutrition strategy following the recent revelation of underperforming of products on health rating systems

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Following an internal presentation revealing some of the most unhealthy products that Nestlé puts out to consumers, the conglomerate has admitted that only 37 percent of its food and beverage products meet an internationally recognised health standard.

The update, first reported by Financial Times, means that over 60 percent of the company’s products do not have a rating of over 3.5 (out of 5) on Australia’s health star rating system.

Nestlé affirmed that “some of our categories and products will never be ‘healthy’ no matter how much we renovate.”

It was learnt that overall, 70 percent of the company’s food products and 96 percent of its beverages (with the exception of its pure coffee) do not qualify as “healthy” per Australia’s rating system.

The firm as well revealed that 99 percent of the products in its confectionery and ice cream portfolio do not meet the standard.

Nevertheless, Nestlé says it is yet filling a consumer need that is not going away anytime soon.

In September 2020, Mark Schneider of Nestlé, was quoted to have said that “confectionery and chocolate address a deep human need and are going to be here to stay.”

In respect of underperforming on health rating systems, therefore, the company said it is focusing on improving its nutrition strategy, but it is not using Australia’s Health Star Rating and Nutri-Score, agency report stated.

A company spokesperson also noted that these health rating systems do not capture everything about the company.

The spokesperson said: “About half of our sales are not covered by these systems.

“That includes categories such as infant nutrition, specialized health products and pet food, which follow regulated nutrition standards.”

Nestlé stressed that it has made “significant improvements” to its products over the past two decades, saying for example, by reducing the sugars and sodium in its range of products.

According to the Spokesperson, the company has reduced these components about 14-15 percent in the past seven years alone.

Yet, the company’s presentation revealed that its portfolio “underperforms against external definitions of health in a landscape where regulatory pressure and consumer demands are skyrocketing.

Nestlé further explained: “We believe that a healthy diet means finding a balance between well-being and enjoyment.

“This includes having some space for indulgent foods, consumed in moderation.

“Our direction of travel has not changed and is clear: we will continue to make our portfolio tastier and healthier.”

Overall, the presentation is said to have revealed some of the most unhealthy products that Nestle puts out, including Hot Pockets pepperoni pizza. One serving contains 48 percent of the daily sodium allowance.

DiGiorno’s three meat croissant crust pizza. One serving contains 40% of the daily sodium allowance.

Others are Orange-flavoured San Pellegrino drink, which is the beverage that has 7.1g of sugar per 100 ml.

Also included is Nesquik’s strawberry-flavoured milk powder, which is the beverage, the company touts in advertising as “perfect at breakfast to get kids ready for the day”, that has 14g of sugar in a 14g serving.

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