Category C: Undernutrition - Accessibility
20% of the total undernutrition score
To perform well on undernutrition in Category C, companies should:
- Have a commercial commitment and objectives to improve the affordability of their healthy products that address micronutrient deficiencies in developing markets, and be able to provide examples of delivering against their commitment and disclose this information.
- Have a commercial commitment with respect to improving the distribution of their products specifically formulated or appropriate for specific undernourished groups, provide examples of doing so and disclose this information.
- Fund other organizations or otherwise support non-commercial programs that improve the distribution of products specifically formulated or appropriate for specific undernourished groups and disclose this funding and activity.
Average scores for category C undernutrition in 2018 and 2016
- More companies make commitments and provide examples of improving the affordability and accessibility of products formulated to address undernutrition in underserved populations, increasing the score from 2.2 to 3.5 points.
- Unilever leads the ranking in Category C because it has the most complete set of commitments, provides good evidence of performance and public disclosure thereof. It is followed by FrieslandCampina, Grupo Bimbo and Nestlé.
More companies have committed to improving the affordability of their products that address micronutrient deficiencies, from four in 2016 to ten in 2018. However, only two of these companies make this commitment concrete by defining clear objectives and targets. Of these, Grupo Bimbo is the only company that discloses its objectives in full.
Four companies, Danone, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever state very high-level commitments without clear definitions to provide a specific number of fortified servings or to positively impact the lives of a specific number of people. Since such commitments are broad and vague, and do not relate specifically to pricing or concrete measures of affordability, they are not ranked here.
FrieslandCampina, Mondelez, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever show more than five examples of providing reduced product sizes or reduced pricing to enable low-income populations to more easily afford them, in high-priority developing countries. FrieslandCampina provides multiple examples of improving affordability, including aiming to address the ‘bottom of the pyramid’ population with fortified evaporated milk products at various price points in Nigeria. Nestlé aims to provide products in pack sizes and formats that undernourished consumers can afford everyday – bouillons, cubes and single serve packs, in various high-priority countries. Five other companies show fewer than five examples or show examples in low-priority countries. This is a slight increase in companies providing relevant evidence compared to 2016. Ajinomoto and PepsiCo provide examples without making a clear commitment. Coca-Cola makes the commitment in relation to a commercial product that is in development for introduction in multiple high-priority countries, but it is not yet on the market and therefore cannot provide examples of affordable pricing related to that project.
Similar to commitments on affordability, more companies commit to improve the accessibility of products specifically formulated or appropriate for the undernourished. Of ten companies making a commitment, Danone, Grupo Bimbo and Nestlé defined clear objectives and targets, with Nestlé and Grupo Bimbo disclosing this publicly. Many companies make commitments related to both affordability and accessibility within one strategy or framework.
Of the ten companies making a commitment to improve the accessibility of relevant products, seven companies show examples of having done so in high-priority developing countries. Grupo Bimbo shows examples in Mexico, which is not a high-priority developing country. Unilever runs several relevant initiatives across high-priority countries.
Eleven companies provided evidence of funding noncommercial programs to improve the accessibility of healthy products that are formulated specifically for undernourished target groups, and almost all of these companies provide a commentary on the programs they support. These programs comprise a variety of initiatives. Besides funding programs run by NGOs or other organizations, such as UNICEF, the World Food Programme, Save the Children and others, companies are directly involved in programs as well. School feeding programs are run by five companies, e.g. FrieslandCampina focuses on school milk programs and Kellogg runs breakfast programs with fortified products that are adapted to local needs and guidelines. Other initiatives include work through companies’ foundations to fund social business programs with a focus on improving the accessibility of relevant products, such as those run by Ajinomoto and Danone.
Recommendations for improvement
- Companies need to define clear objectives and targets for making healthy food affordable and accessible to the undernourished
If SDG 2 is to be achieved by 2030, it is urgent that all companies define and disclose a comprehensive set of targets and objectives and actively contribute to eradicating undernutrition.
- Accessibility and affordability considerations should be an integral part of a company’s undernutrition strategy
Grupo Bimbo demonstrates best practice by integrating accessibility and affordability considerations and objectives into its nutrition strategy, which includes the companies’ commercial approach to addressing undernutrition. Other companies should adopt a similar approach, rather than making very broad statements about providing a specific number of ‘fortified servings’ (or similar) by a target date.
- Exploration of new business models and approaches
Companies can encounter tension between the objective of providing undernourished low-income, difficult-to-reach populations with affordable products and achieving a scale that makes such initiatives commercially viable. Several companies illustrate that they are exploring new approaches. For example, by funding social business projects or by exploring avenues well outside the current business. Companies are encouraged to increase these efforts and to seek pre-competitive collaboration through organizations such as GAIN or the SUN Business Network to join forces where possible. Such explorations should be an add-on to, not a substitute for, commercial investments in healthy foods for the undernourished.