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Category E - Undernutrition: Lifestyles

Consumer education on micronutrient deficiency in developing countries / 2.5% of the total undernutrition score


To perform well on undernutrition in Category E, companies should:

  • Commit to support well-designed programs educating undernourished consumers about the importance of breastfeeding, micronutrient fortification and healthy diets.
  • Publish their commitments as well as the content and results of the programs they support.
Group 97 Created with Sketch. 2016 2018 Governance A Lifestyles E Engagement G 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Labeling F Accessibility C Marketing D Products B 2,5 1,5

Average scores for category E undernutrition in 2018 and 2016

What are the main changes in Category E compared to 2016?
  • Compared to 2016, more companies make a commitment to educate undernourished consumers in developing countries about healthy foods (that address micronutrient deficiencies) by supporting relevant programs, while the public disclosure of information regarding these programs has remained fairly stable. Overall, only eight companies report supporting relevant undernutrition education programs in developing countries, which is the lowest across the seven categories in the assessment related to undernutrition. The average score increased from 1.5 to 2.5 points.
  • Mondelez leads the ranking with a clearly defined and publicly disclosed approach to fund and support independently designed and evaluated programs, followed by Nestlé, Kellogg, PepsiCo and Ajinomoto.
Is there evidence that companies commit to and support good, independently-designed nutrition education programs aimed at undernourished consumers?

As in 2016, Mondelez stands out as the only company that has a written policy and guidelines regarding the kinds of undernutrition programs it will sponsor, and commits to exclusively support programs developed and implemented by independent organizations with relevant expertise. Mondelez discloses the principles that are applied by the Mondelez International Foundation. The company commits that programs sponsored through its foundation are designed and implemented by an independent third party in such a way that the company does not direct the content or structure of the program. Moreover, these programs are independently evaluated, and the company discloses a full description of all programs, including evaluation data.

Besides Mondelez, Ajinomoto also has a written guideline on the kinds of programs relating to undernutrition it will sponsor/fund through its philanthropic programs, related to the company’s foundation. Ajinomoto discloses the Ajinomoto International Cooperation Network for Nutrition and Health (AIN) program, with an emphasis on nutrition education in developing countries.

Five companies, Ajinomoto, Kellogg, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever, commit to support programs developed and implemented by independent organizations in addition to its own programs. Furthermore, these companies provide a limited disclosure of the supported programs. Apart from Mondelez, Nestlé is the only company that follows best practice by embedding independent impact evaluations into the design of all programs.

On seven topics, related to maternal and child health, benefits of breastfeeding, benefits of micronutrient supplementation and diverse diets, only Nestlé and Ajinomoto demonstrated that they cover most of these topics through the programs they support, followed by Danone, Kellogg, Mondelez and Unilever, all of which cover more than half of the relevant topics identified. Eight companies provided evidence of relevant programs, leaving ten remaining companies that do not report on any relevant initiatives. Of the eight companies that support relevant initiatives, six report support for programs in high-priority developing countries. Two companies, Danone and Grupo Bimbo, do not provide information on the geographic focus of their programs or report on low-priority countries only.

Recommendations for improvement

  • More focus on nutritional education of undernourished consumers is needed

Companies can have a positive impact on the health of undernourished consumers by supporting nutrition education of undernourished consumers. Not enough companies in the Index do so currently.

  • A structured approach with independently designed programs and transparency about companies’ roles

Mondelez shows best practice by having a policy in place to describe the type of consumer education programs it will support and fund, disclosing it publicly, working with independently designed and evaluated programs and providing a full description of programs and evaluations. All companies should adopt a similar approach, tailored to the company context.

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