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Category A: Governance

12.5% of overall score

Category A consists of three criteria:
  • A1 Corporate nutrition strategy
  • A2 Nutrition governance and management systems
  • A3 Quality of reporting

To perform well in this category, companies should:

  • Commit at Board level to address obesity and diet-related chronic diseases.
  • Set clear nutrition strategies, objectives and target in all business areas underpinned by strategic market research.
  • Establish and use incentive and accountability structures at senior management level to reward successful implementation of nutrition strategies.
  • Demonstrate high and increasing levels of sales of healthy products.
  • Clearly and comprehensively report on activities to prevent and address nutrition-related issues and on progress against nutrition-related objectives and targets, on a global basis.

Category A Nutrition ranking, based on equally-weighted Criteria A1, A2 and A3 scores

Did not provide information to ATNI
What are the main changes in Category A compared to 2016?
  • The average Category A nutrition score increased to 4.7 from 3.9 in 2016 (as shown in Figure 2), and Nestlé currently leads the score with 9.8 points.
  • FrieslandCampina showed the largest improvement by increasing its score by almost 4 points, mainly due to its new more comprehensive nutrition strategy and strengthened nutrition governance and management system.
  • Category A remains the highest-scoring category on the Index. Many companies have strengthened their nutrition policies and management systems.
  • A particularly elucidating finding is that Category A scores correlate strongly with overall Global Index scores, clearly indicating that a company can better sustain and scale up its nutrition activities if commitment starts at the top and is integrated into its core business strategy
To what extent have companies enhanced the integration of their nutrition strategies into their core business since 2016?

Since 2016, companies’ scores on Criterion A1, which measures the quality of their nutrition strategies, has increased by almost one point from 3.5 to 4.4 out of 10. More companies can now demonstrate a strategic orientation towards nutrition through commitments that indicate greater integration of nutrition factors into core business considerations.

FrieslandCampina and Nestlé score 100% on A1 and lead this ranking. Both companies make a strategic commitment to grow through a focus on nutrition, including by considering nutrition trends when making acquisitions and carrying out extensive nutrition risk assessments. Both companies can demonstrate that this focus has also resulted in increased sales from healthy products over recent years (company self-reported data). Danone ranks third with a score above nine. In 2017, the company adopted a comprehensive nutrition strategy that sets out clear 2020 nutrition commitments and targets.

Of the 22 Index companies, FrieslandCampina and Kellogg improved their scores the most – by more than 4.5 points. Compared to 2016, Kellogg discloses more information publicly about its nutrition strategy and how the strategy informs the company’s ‘way of doing business’. FrieslandCampina’s A1 score increase is due to its new ‘Route2020’ strategy.

Overall, companies acknowledge they have a role to play in tackling nutrition challenges and support the WHO Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases (WHO Global Action Plan). Eleven companies also link this role to contributing to nutrition-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2 and 3.

Conversely, BRF, Ferrero, Kraft Heinz, Lactalis and Tingyi show very limited or no evidence of having a relevant nutrition strategy in place according to ATNI methodology. These companies are encouraged to initiate a process of developing a formal global nutrition strategy.

How many companies consider nutrition issues in their M&A activity?

Ten companies that have articulated a commitment to and/or strategic focus on health and nutrition and provided evidence of nutrition being a factor in decisions about acquisitions and disposals, as well as when forming joint ventures or other partnerships. This indicates that these companies have genuinely embedded a commitment to nutrition into their core business strategy.

Can companies demonstrate that their nutrition strategies are delivering increasing sales of healthy products?

A concrete indication of whether companies’ commitments to deliver healthier products are bearing fruit is whether they can show that sales generated from healthy products are increasing over time. Based on their own definitions of healthy products, only four companies are then listed including Danone, FrieslandCampina, Meiji and Nestlé report that more than 50% of their F&B revenue was generated by healthy products in FY2016.
In addition to the companies that reported achieving more than 50% of sales from healthy products in the 2016 Index, companies such as Arla, Coca-Cola, FrieslandCampina, General Mills, Grupo Bimbo, Kellogg, Mondelez and PepsiCo reported increased revenues from healthy products since 2016.

The other Index companies do not demonstrate similar results, and many were either unable or unwilling to disclose this information

Recommendations for improvement:

  1. Implement a strategic commitment to delivering better nutrition across their businesses
  2. Take measures to boost global sales of healthy products and report on these publicly
Have companies moved beyond simply making commitments on nutrition and put in place or strengthened their nutrition policy and objectives to deliver on high-level, strategic nutrition commitments, and how are these translated into management systems?

Some companies can demonstrate that they have improved their nutrition policy and strengthened governance systems to deliver objectives articulated in their nutrition policies since the last Index in 2016. The average score on Criterion A2 increased from 3.5 to 4.7 out of 10. Nestlé leads the ranking on A2 with a score of 9.5 followed by FrieslandCampina. Grupo Bimbo, PepsiCo, Mondelez and Unilever, each with a score of more than 7. All of these companies have a comprehensive nutrition policy with clear objectives and Board-level oversight.

In 2016, two thirds of the companies assessed had some elements of either a Board-approved nutrition strategy or policy, whereas in 2018, 77% companies had such a system in place – an increase of 15%. Considerably more companies (four in 2016, ten in 2018) provided evidence of comprehensive nutrition policies with a broad range of objectives. In 2016, seven companies did not have a nutrition policy in place, and by 2018, this number had decreased to four.

The companies that have strengthened their nutrition policy objectives and management systems the most since 2016 are Ajinomoto, FrieslandCampina and Mondelez.

Six companies do not solicit any external expert advice on preventing and addressing obesity and diet-related chronic disease at Board level. While five of the companies do so on an ad-hoc basis. Ten of the companies have a formal panel of experts (albeit with rather limited expertize) in place.

Compared with 2016, four more companies conduct a standard internal audit and annual management review that covers nutrition issues. While in 2016 only two companies conducted both assessments, in 2018, the number had increased to six. BRF, ConAgra, Lactalis, Meiji, Suntory, Kraft Heinz2 and Tingyi do not share relevant information or do not publish this in the public domain about their nutrition governance.

Do companies increasingly assign Board-level oversight and executive responsibility for their nutrition strategies?

The CEO accountability arrangements remain similar to 2016, with only Danone strengthening its approach in this area. In terms of managerial oversight and day-to-day responsibility for the nutrition policy and strategy, some progress has been made. Ajinomoto, General Mills, Grupo Bimbo and Mondelez re-allocated day-to-day responsibility for implementing their nutrition strategy/plan to an executive-level manager, which contributed to their higher scores. BRF, Kraft Heinz, Lactalis, Suntory and Tingyi do not report on accountability and managerial oversight.

Recommendations for improvement

  1. Adopt or enhance a formal global nutrition policy
  2. Link executive compensation to performance on
    nutrition objectives

Nestlé leads the ranking of A3, achieving a full score on this criterion. Danone and Unilever share the second rank with a score above nine. Campbell’s, Coca-Cola, FrieslandCampina and Mondelez improved the quality of their reporting since 2016. Campbell’s provides more nutrition reporting in its annual reports and, since 2017, the company conducts independent verification of the nutrition commentary included in its corporate responsibility report. FrieslandCampina and Mondelez now provide more comprehensive reporting on preventing and addressing obesity and diet-related chronic diseases in their annual reports.

Eighteen companies report annually on their nutrition activities at a global level. This increasingly widespread practice appears to indicate that companies are aware of the need to be more transparent and accountable on this issue.

Coca-Cola, Danone, Nestlé and Unilever publish separate reports for a few national or several major markets in which they operate, in addition to their global reporting.

Only five companies’ reports that cover nutrition issues – those of Campbell’s, Danone, Ferrero, Nestlé and Unilever – are externally verified.

Recommendations for improvement

  1. Publish separate reports for major markets
  2. Conduct external verification of nutrition data and commentary
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