Category F - Undernutrition: Labeling
Proper food labeling in the context of undernutrition in developing countries / 15% of the total undernutrition score
To perform well on undernutrition in Category F, companies should:
- Adopt and publish a global policy on labeling that includes commitments to label the micronutrient content of all products sold in developing countries fortified with or naturally high in micronutrients.
- Adopt and publish a global policy on the use of both health and nutrition claims that states, in countries where no national regulatory system exists, these claims will only be placed on products if they are in full compliance with the relevant Codex standard
Average scores for category F undernutrition in 2018 and 2016
- More companies make and disclose relevant commitments, increasing the average score from 1.6 to 3.8 points.
- Grupo Bimbo, Mars and Nestlé achieved a full score. They were followed in the ranking by Danone, FrieslandCampina, Mondelez and Unilever.
Coca-Cola, Danone, FrieslandCampina, Grupo Bimbo, Mars, Mondelez and Nestlé, commit to labeling products that either have naturally high levels of micronutrients or that have been fortified with micronutrients, and disclose this commitment or their policy expressing it.
Unilever makes the same commitment but does not publish this commitment publicly. This represents a substantial improvement from 2016, when four companies made the commitment and only two of these disclosed it publicly.
Nutrition claims are particularly relevant for products that aim to address specific undernutrition issues, to clearly communicate to consumers what nutritional issue or deficiency the product addresses. Four companies, two more than in 2016, disclose their commitment to using health and nutrition claims on products that have been fortified only when these products are compliant with Codex fortification guidelines or the principles therein. These are Grupo Bimbo, Mars, Mondelez, Nestlé and Unilever.
Arla, Danone and FrieslandCampina make the same commitment without public disclosure, three more than in 2016. For a number of companies, the commitment refers to upholding Codex guidelines in the absence of local regulation. This can be ambiguous, as it may mean that Codex guidelines are the minimum standard in the case of weaker regulation, or it may mean that Codex guidelines are only upheld in case no local regulation exists at all. Although it was explained in clarification to ATNIto mean that Codex principles were upheld as a minimum, this should be stated more clearly in corporate commitments.
Recommendations for improvement
- All companies should commit to label fortified products appropriately
Across Categories A and B, 12 companies commit to address undernutrition. All companies that develop products to fight undernutrition should clearly commit to label the relevant micronutrients in these products, but currently only eight companies do so.
- Clear commitments to only place health and nutrition claims on products aiming to address undernutrition when these comply with Codex guidelines
Clear commitments should be made to only make such claims on products when these comply with Codex guidelines, and in general should only be applied for healthy products, to avoid misleading consumers.