To perform well in this category, companies should:
Category D Nutrition ranking, based on equally-weighted Criteria D1, D2, D3 and D4 scores
Danone, Nestlé and Unilever lead the ranking on Criterion D1 responsible marketing policy for all consumers. All three achieved a score of 100% (Danone and Mars both rank first on D2 with a full score as well).
Since 2016, seven companies have adopted new policies in which they strengthened their commitments, and some expanded the scope of media covered by their policies. Overall, all 17 companies that make commitments to market responsibly to all consumers apply their practices globally in all markets where they operate.
In 2016, Unilever was the only company that fully aligned its commitments with ICC principles. The company made two additional commitments that go beyond the commitments covered by the ICC Framework and are covered by the ATNI methodology: Not to use models with a body mass index (BMI) of under 18.5 and to present products in the context of a balanced diet. Going beyond the ICC and committing to these additional responsible representations of products commitments is considered industry-leading practice. Danone, Mars and Nestlé also made both commitments, which contributed to increasing their scores for the 2018 Index, illustrating leading practice in the sector and scoring 100% on this particular element of the ATNI methodology.
Coca-Cola, Ferrero, Mondelez and PepsiCo also pledge to comply with the ICC Framework (in addition to Danone, Nestlé and Unilever), and make comprehensive commitments related to the representation of products. However, the companies that pledge to the ICC Framework interpret and therefore apply these commitments to different media and, consequently, not across all media. For an overview of relevant media covered by the ATNI methodology.
Since the 2016 Global Index, Coca-Cola, FrieslandCampina, Grupo Bimbo, Mars and Mondelez have increased their scores, as they implemented new policies that are more aligned with the principles of the ICC Framework in terms of commitments related to the representation of products. In the cases of Coca-Cola and FrieslandCampina, their policy updates contributed to an increase of more than six and five points, respectively, taking their 2018 Criterion D1 scores to 6.9 and 9.3, respectively.
Some companies, for example, Campbell’s, provided evidence of an already existing policy for the 2018 Index, which in 2016 was not shared and thus not credited. Consequently, this had a positive impact on the company’s score.
Five companies – General Mills, Lactalis, Meiji, Suntory and Tingyi, do not make relevant commitments related to criteria D1 – responsible marketing practices related to all consumers.
Overall, the media channels covered vary by company and are usually aligned with media covered by individual pledges to which companies commit in different markets. The media channels that companies omit from their policies most commonly are in-store marketing and cinema. These media are only covered by seven companies explicitly.
Of those companies that make at least some kind of commitment related to responsible marketing, six companies – Coca-Cola, Danone, Ferrero, Mondelez, Nestlé and Unilever – apply their commitments to all media. Eleven other companies do not specify the media channels to which their responsible marketing commitments apply. This number has increased since 2016, mainly due to the fact that more companies are not providing sufficient evidence.
Arla and Coca-Cola expanded the scope of media covered by their policies, increasing their scores on this specific indicator from 0 to 5.8 and 10, respectively. Campbell’s also improved its score because of its expanded commitments and provided evidence of a policy.
From the 17 companies that have commitments to responsible marketing practices, 15 disclose their responsible marketing commitments to all consumers in the public domain. However, full disclosure, including media channels, is more limited. Only six companies also disclose publicly the media channels that are covered by their policy. The remaining eight companies provided information about media channels confidentially.
Danone and Mars are the only two companies that commission independent third-party audits of their marketing activity to all consumers. Four other companies conduct an internal audit, but 16 companies do not report having any type of auditing mechanism in place.
The audits of all six companies that do either internal or third-party audits – Danone, FrieslandCampina, Mars, Mondelez, Nestlé and Unilever – are global in scope.
Of the six companies conducting audits to assess compliance with marketing to all commitments, only three companies – Coca-Cola, Danone and Mars – disclose information about the audits and compliance with their marketing policies. Despite the fact that three additional companies provide some information about audits, disclosure remains very poor.
Since 2016, ten companies updated their policy commitments, expanded the media channels covered and strengthened audience age thresholds. Of these, eight are International Food and Beverage Alliance (IFBA) members, and two are EU Pledge members. These policy updates resulted, on average, in higher scores on Criterion D3.
Nestlé leads the ranking on marketing to children (Criterion D3), followed by Unilever and Mars. Arla and FrieslandCampina demonstrated the biggest improvement due to significantly strengthening their policies to cover more media channels and setting stricter audience thresholds. Kraft Heinz made a public commitment to support the Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) guidelines in the U.S., which include many specific provisions on marketing communications to children embodied in the ICC Framework.
Lactalis, Meiji, Suntory and Tingyi did not provide relevant information, and do not seem to have any commitments to responsible marketing to children available in the public domain.
Compared to 2016, no companies expanded the geographic scope of their policies. Fourteen companies apply their commitments globally, and eight apply them in their home markets only.
Since the 2016 assessment, additional media were added to the assessment – mobile and SMS marketing, and product placement in movies or TV shows. Six companies make explicit commitments to cover all forms of media.
Ajinomoto, Lactalis, Meiji, Suntory and Tingyi did not share relevant evidence with ATNF, and no data on media covered is available in the public domain.
Some companies claim that even though not explicitly mentioned, their commitments are broader than specified in their policies. For this assessment, these commitments were not taken into considerations.
Since 2016, five companies – Arla, FrieslandCampina, General Mills, Mondelez and Nestlé – have expanded the age restrictions and/or audience thresholds determining marketing to children. Table 2 presents companies with leading commitments in these two areas. Companies highlighted in blue show commitments that have changed since 2016.
Ajinomoto, Lactalis, Meiji, Suntory and Tingyi do not publish in the public domain and did not share with ATNF any audience thresholds and age restrictions on their marketing practices to children.
From the companies that make commitments relating to responsible marketing to children, 13 companies have a global policy; ConAgra and Kraft Heinz have policies in place that only cover their home market, the U.S.. Campbell’s commits to relevant local pledges in its major markets of the U.S., Australia and Canada, and, thus, does not appear to have one comprehensive, overarching policy. General Mills pledges to IFBA globally, but its U.S. (home-market) commitments on responsible marketing techniques are stronger than its global ones, as the company commits to comply with the relatively extensive CARU guidelines and Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI) applicable in the U.S. Although the company does commit to apply CFBAI nutrition standards worldwide, it is encouraged to define globally applicable commitments on the use of marketing techniques and activities.
While a number of companies strengthened their marketing commitments to children, progress is less pronounced regarding auditing, as most of the companies participate in audits conducted by the industry pledge organizations they are members of. Only three companies – Danone, Mars and Nestlé – appoint an independent auditor, the best practice that ATNF encourages.
In auditing their compliance, only Mars and Nestlé audit compliance across all media to which they commit to apply their responsible marketing principles. The remaining 13 companies’ audits only cover media within the pledges, which do not encompass all media.
Fourteen companies do not report results of their individual compliance level, illustrating a relatively low level of transparency.