U.S. Spotlight Index

Global Index

India Spotlight Index

Global Index 2018

B. Products findings

Key findings

  • The average score increased to 3.4 from 2.8 in 2016, and Nestlé currently leads the ranking with a score of 8.0 points.
  • Campbell’s showed the largest improvement by increasing its score by three points, mainly related to more reporting on nutritional criteria, which are therefore now recognized as a precursor to a NPS in Criterion B2.
  • Reformulation targets were assessed in more detail than in 2016. Although the basis for scoring remained the same, this limits the comparability of Criterion B1 scores to some extent.
  • There is a modest increase in the number of companies that commit to invest in research and development (R&D), that show evidence of offering more healthy products and that disclose relevant information publicly. In addition, two companies have implemented new NPSs, and several have implemented stricter criteria and product formulation and/or reformulation (henceforth ‘(re)formulation’) targets.

Key recommendations

Companies should define a comprehensive set of product (re)formulation targets

The majority of companies define commitments for product (re)formulation to increase the healthiness of product portfolios. However, across all companies and product categories, relevant targets were missing in half of the cases. Companies should define targets covering all relevant nutrients and all relevant products, globally. The definition of these targets should be related to companies’ definition of healthy products, which should be based on, or at least be equivalent to, a leading international NPS. ATNF plans to perform regular Product Profile assessments in the future based on the Health Star Rating methodology. Company reformulation commitments and efforts should lead to demonstrable improvements in Product Profile outcomes over time.

Clarity on product (re)formulation commitments

Companies are responsible for making unambiguously clear what their commitments are regarding product innovation and (re)formulation, whether communicated by the company or through industry association commitments. Industry associations also have a role to play to ensure that clear and consistent commitments are defined for all members. In all cases, companies should communicate their commitments pro-actively, and not rely on industry associations to make these public.

Commitments and progress should be verifiable by third parties

Product (re)formulation commitments, expressed by companies or through industry associations, should be defined in such a way that these can be verified independently. ATNF will increase its focus on the assessment of objective data to track companies’ progress against their commitments.

More attention for (re)formulation targets to increase ‘positive nutrients’

Commitments to increase the levels of fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes and whole grains are lacking for the large majority of companies. Although it may require new approaches to product (re)formulation, companies should increase their efforts in this area.

More attention to limiting serving sizes

Less than half of the relevant companies reported the percentage of relevant products that are offered in small serving sizes. More attention and transparency is needed in this area. Limiting the serving sizes of single-packaged products is the preferred approach to influence consumer behavior, but companies are encouraged as well to work with academia and other stakeholders to identify new effective strategies to limit serving size, leading to reduced calorie intake.

Companies should implement, or upgrade to, a full NPS

Nine companies have not yet implemented an NPS, and four companies have implemented a limited system that qualifies as a precursor NPS. One company – Ajinomoto – is in the process of implementing a new NPS; however, the other 12 companies should implement, or upgrade to, a full NPS that calculates overall scores of the nutritional quality of products and defines relevant nutritional criteria per product category.

The NPS should be the basis to define healthy products

Companies should adopt a consistent approach to define products as healthy based on the nutritional criteria in the NPS. This definition should clearly be referenced in companies’ approaches to product (re)formulation; their reporting on the number of healthy product introductions; and in their strategies regarding responsible marketing, affordability and accessibility, and nutrition and health claims.

Details of the NPS should be disclosed publicly

To provide full transparency on companies’ efforts to support healthy diets, the details of the NPS should be fully disclosed, both on the companies’ websites, as well as in peer-reviewed, scientific journals. This opens the nutritional criteria to scrutiny and public or scientific debate, which can provide input for companies to revise or update these criteria if necessary.

Improving nutrition for all

The Access to Nutrition Index rates food and beverage manufacturers´ nutrition-related policies, practices and disclosures worldwide on a recurring basis.


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