Global Index 2021

Danone

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Product categories assessed
Bottled Water (other)| Bottled Water (Pure)|Dairy|RTD Coffee|
Percentage of company global sales covered by Product Profile assessment
55-60%
Headquarters
France
Number of employees
100000
Type of ownership
Public
Rank 4 / Score 5.8
Rank 3 (2018)
Product Profile
Rank 1 / Score 8.2
Rank 2 (2018)
BMS/CF Marketing
Rank 1 / Score 68%
Rank 1 (2018)
Important:

The findings of this Index regarding companies’ performance rely to a large extent on information shared by companies, in addition to information that is available in the public domain. Several factors beyond the companies’ control may impact the availability of information such as differences in disclosure requirements among countries or capacity constraints within companies, amongst others the Covid-19 pandemic. Therefore, in the case of limited or no engagement by such companies, this Index may not represent the full extent of their efforts.

Corporate Profile

Rank 4

Score 5.8

An adjustment of -0.48 to the company's score has been made based on its score in the BMS/CF Marketing Index 2021.

Company BMS/CF Scorecard

Commitment

Performance

Disclosure

The bar graph to the left shows company performance across the seven Index categories, which are key topic areas of assessment, and scores are shown for each category. The circles above provide an alternate view on the company’s overall results, showing the score per indicator type. The Commitment, Performance, Disclosure score only applies to category scores and not to the BMS/CF Assessment.

Main areas
of strength

● SCORES AND RANKS Although Danone’s score slightly dropped from 6.3 in 2018 to 5.8 in 2021, Danone ranks 4th in the 2021 Global Index. The company also ranks 1st on the Product Profile and achieved the highest mean healthiness score (6.9 out of 10)- an indication of the nutritional quality of company’s products in best-selling categories across major markets. It was the only company to achieve the healthy threshold of 3.5 HSR at the portfolio-level when results were sales-weighted.

● GOVERNANCE: Danone continues to demonstrate clear commitments to contributing positively to diets and health. Concerning priority populations at risk of malnutrition, Danone continues to use NutriPlanet, a comprehensive analysis of local nutrition and health contexts based on a review of scientific literature, enhanced by interviews with local experts and key opinion leaders. The company acquires data from national dietary surveys mainly carried out by government and research institutes in countries where they exist, or from their own surveys where information is lacking. In this endeavor, a partnership was signed in 2019 between Danone and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) that includes sharing such data, starting with Egypt as a pilot country. The company utilized this data to understand what people eat and drink and compare intakes to dietary and nutrient recommendations, in order to improve the products to better serve the priority population with micronutrient deficiencies.

● GOVERNANCE: The company started a new phase of the ‘Danone Way’ program to advance and measure their sustainability performance, including a strategic focus on improving nutrition and health at the Local, Regional and Global level (and get more Danone entities B-Corp certified). In its efforts to address undernutrition, Danone employs Nutripack, a market research assessment, to identify nutritional needs among the population based on epidemiological literature review and expert interviews. In addition, the company intends to improve the portfolio of healthy products through the ‘Manifesto brand’ framework.

● PRODUCTS: With an improved strategy – ‘Nutritional Targets 2020’ – to develop healthier products, and updated nutrient profiling model which considers ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ nutrients, Danone has a clear definition of ‘healthy categories’, which are benchmarked against the health star rating (HSR) model; and is one of the few companies found to do so. In addition, the company has publicly disclosed the externally-verified level of achievements with its nutrient targets. The company is commended for publicly disclosing its ‘Policy on micronutrient fortification’, in which it makes the public commitment to only fortifying products belonging to company’s ‘healthy categories’ (as listed in ‘Danone Nutritional Targets’).

● ACCESSIBILITY: Danone’s public commitment states that accessible and affordable nutrition is a fundamental component of its business strategy, and that it focuses on providing healthy, affordable products to vulnerable groups with targeted distribution models. For instance, they sell Shokti+ yogurt – designed to deliver 30 percent of the daily requirement for iron, zinc, vitamin A and iodine – at an affordable price through a dense distribution system serving both urban and rural populations in Bangladesh. Danone has implemented micro-distribution projects in nine countries, with the potential to empower vulnerable populations, mainly women from underprivileged areas, and drive local development, while expanding access to healthy foods and beverages.

● MARKETING: Besides pledging adherence to the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Advertising and Marketing Communications Code, the company has a strict marketing to children policy of “no product marketing communications in and near Primary schools nor in Secondary schools.” Regarding digital marketing in schools, the company has a clear definition of marketing communications that covers new media of online/digital forms. Furthermore, Danone’s compliance regarding children and teens marketing is audited through both its own process, ‘Danone Way’ (which in turn is audited by PwC), and the numerous local and regional pledges it has joined.

● LIFESTYLES: With the intention to encourage the physical activity and healthy dietary choices of its staff, the company organized a ‘Get healthy’ challenge in its headquarters to encourage employees to drink more, recycle more, and do more physical exercise. To support breastfeeding, the company provides lactating mothers with access to exclusive lactation facilities to either breastfeed (where possible) or express breastmilk during working hours (with dedicated breaks) in a safe, private, hygienic, and adapted environment, or reasonable time-off during the day to either breastfeed or express milk. The installation of lactation rooms can be requested by any female employee, even on sites with less than 50 female employees.

● LABELING: With regards to product labeling and use of health and nutrition claims, the company’s ranking increased from 2018 to 2021. This change is not only attributed to the adaptation of Danone's Nutrition Commitments, which include comprehensive commitments to product labeling, but also the disclosure of the implementation of its labeling policy in ‘Danone Nutritional Achievements’. Furthermore, Danone has implemented a front-of-pack (FOP) interpretative labeling system, instead of solely a numeric format display as found in 2018 Global Index, and is one of the only three companies that has committed to do so for all products, globally. This is industry best practice. Interpretative labeling displays nutritional information in a clear and easy to read format, which can help consumers make informed and healthier choices.

● LABELING: Danone has developed a labeling strategy to reduce food waste. In France, the company participates in the French Pact on date labeling (the ‘Too Good to Go’ initiative), while, in Germany, its Activia brand has switched to ‘best before, often good after’. Additionally, Danone pledged to reduce its unrecovered food waste (i.e., waste sent in landfill, incinerated without energy recovery, or discharged in wastewater) by 50 percent by 2025.

● ENGAGEMENT: Danone received the highest score for its efforts in engaging with and influencing governments. These include company-wide commitments to lobby in support of measures to improve health and nutrition, reflected in its robust lobbying management systems and above-average lobbying disclosure. The company supports governments’ efforts to address malnutrition on a global basis, and is commended for engaging with a range of international stakeholders (such as the FAO), in a well-structured and focused manner in the development of its nutrition strategies and programs. As of 2019, the company also has over 100 panels of local experts advising its nation-level subsidiaries on their commercial nutrition strategies across its markets.

Priority areas
for improvement

● GOVERNANCE: Although the company has made fundamental efforts in addressing micronutrient deficiencies, the company could consider putting more emphasis on other forms of malnutrition, such as undernutrition, obesity, and diet-related chronic diseases.

● PRODUCTS: Danone is encouraged to improve its nutritional targets by setting time-bound and externally verifiable sodium/salt, fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes (FVNL), and whole grain targets for all relevant product categories. The company could also consider implementing consumer portion control strategies and undertake research to demonstrate the efficacy of this on consumer behavior. In addition, Danone is encouraged to demonstrate how products marketed to children correspond with regional World Health Organization (WHO) criteria for marketing to children.

● ACCESSIBILITY: Danone is advised to strengthen its commitments to improving the affordability and accessibility of its healthy products by explicitly referring to low-income consumers and those with limited geographical access, and extend it to products aimed at addressing micronutrient deficiencies in priority populations, in all markets it is active in. The company is encouraged to set concrete, measurable targets on pricing and distribution of its healthy products through a commercial approach, with tailored approaches for priority populations in all its markets.

● MARKETING: To improve its marketing policy, Danone is encouraged to develop market strategies to reach priority populations. In addition, the company could consider committing to not advertise to children at all, no matter whether the products meet the company’s standard. Moreover, the company could also increase the age range for restrictions in advertising to 18 years, and adopt tools to ensure its digital marketing does not reach younger age groups.

● LIFESTYLES: To complement Danone’s employee health and wellness program, the company is advised to offer nutrition and physical activity programs on top of the existing healthcare coverage. ATNI also encourages the company to support the health and wellness of groups across the food supply chain that are not direct employees, extend the program to family members, and publish details.

● LIFESTYLES: Danone runs and funds various consumer-oriented education programs, but not all of them are independently designed and implemented programs that exclude product or brand-level branding.

● LABELING: Although Danone has strong labeling commitments, the company falters in this area due the scope of its commitments regarding the use of health and nutrition claims. To prevent misuse of claims, or the placement of claims on unhealthy products, it is recommended that Danone commits to not using claims on products unless they have been pre-determined as healthy by a relevant (and preferably government-endorsed) NPS. This is recommended to be applied to all products and markets that the company is active in.

● ENGAGEMENT: The company is encouraged to build on its partnership approach (such as with FAO) to publicly engage with more stakeholders to combat malnutrition (obesity, undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies, and related diseases) by supporting international initiatives and soliciting input on its commercial strategies.

● BREAST-MILK SUBSTITUTES AND COMPLEMENTARY FOODS: Although Danone applies its BMS marketing policy to infant formula in all markets (both in higher- and lower- risk countries), ATNI urges Danone to apply this policy globally in relation to all products covered by The Code, including growing-up milks and formulas for special medical purposes which are BMS products not yet covered by Danone’s policy. Being a manufacturer of complementary foods (CF) marketed to children 6-36 months of age, Danone is also urged to develop policy commitments and associated management systems in relation to CF marketing in alignment with the recommendations set out in the guidance related to WHA resolution 69.9.

Category Analysis

Governance

Governance

Products

Accessibility

Marketing

Lifestyles

Labeling

Engagement

Nutrition

A1
Nutrition strategy
A2
Nutrition management
A3
Reporting quality
B1
Product Profile
B2
Product formulation
B3
Defining healthy products
C1
Product pricing
C2
Product distribution
D1
Marketing policy
D2
Marketing to children
D3
Auditing and compliance
E1
Employee health
E2
Breastfeeding support
E3
Consumer health
F1
Product labeling
F2
Claims
G1
Influencing policymakers
G2
Stakeholder engagement

Commitment

Performance

Disclosure

The big circle on the left represents the company result for this Index category, showing the rank out of 25 and the score below it. The smaller circles above indicate company's scores on the three types of indicators.
The big circle on the left represents the company result for this Index category, showing the rank out of 25 and the score below it. The smaller circles above indicate company's scores on the three types of indicators.
The big circle on the left represents the company result for this Index category, showing the rank out of 25 and the score below it. The smaller circles above indicate company's scores on the three types of indicators.
The big circle on the left represents the company result for this Index category, showing the rank out of 25 and the score below it. The smaller circles above indicate company's scores on the three types of indicators.
The big circle on the left represents the company result for this Index category, showing the rank out of 25 and the score below it. The smaller circles above indicate company's scores on the three types of indicators.
The big circle on the left represents the company result for this Index category, showing the rank out of 25 and the score below it. The smaller circles above indicate company's scores on the three types of indicators.
The big circle on the left represents the company result for this Index category, showing the rank out of 25 and the score below it. The smaller circles above indicate company's scores on the three types of indicators.

Detailed Product Profile Results

1
Rank 1 / Score 8.2

The Product Profile is an independent assessment of the nutritional quality of companies’ product portfolios. For this purpose, ATNI uses the Health Star Rating (HSR) model, which rates foods from 0.5 to 5.0 based on their nutritional quality. ATNI uses the threshold of 3.5 stars or more to classify products as generally healthy. This assessment is undertaken in partnership with The George Institute for Global Health (TGI), with additional data input from Innova Market Insights.

The methodology for the Global Index 2021 Product Profile has been revised and now includes three scored elements. The overall Product Profile score reflects: B1.1, the mean healthiness of a company’s product portfolio; B1.2, the relative healthiness within product categories compared to peers, and; B1.3, changes in the nutritional quality of product portfolios compared to the Global Index 2018 Product Profile. The steps taken to calculate the final Product Profile scores are visualized in Box 1. The next section further explains each of these three elements.

Danone has been assessed for the second time in the Global Index Product Profile. In the previous assessment, seven of the company’s markets were selected, and a total of 759 products analyzed – accounting for approximately 25-30% of global retail sales in 2017, excluding baby foods, plain tea, and coffee. In this Index, a total of 1626 products have been analyzed across 10 of the company’s major markets. Products from the top five best-selling product categories within each market are included. In 2019, these products accounted for 55-60% of the company’s global retail sales, excluding baby foods, plain tea, and coffee.

Brazil, France and Russia are new countries included in this iteration. In 2018, a total of four product categories were covered by the assessment, compared to five categories in 2021. For all companies, Bottled Water has been split into two categories for this iteration (Bottled Water – pure and Bottled Water – other). Products form the ‘RTD Coffee’ ‘category are assessed in 2021 but were not in 2018, whereas products from the ‘Ice cream and Frozen Desserts’ category were assessed in 2018, but are not in 2021.

In this Product Profile assessment, Danone scores 6.9 out of 10 (B1.1) in the mean healthiness element, 9.6 out of 10 (B1.2) for the relative healthiness of its products within categories compared to peers, and 8 out of 10 (B1.3) for changes in nutritional quality (mean HSR) over time. This results in Danone obtaining an overall score of 8.2 out of 10, ranking first out of 25 in the Product Profile.

B1.1 Portfolio-level Results

Average
HSR (out
of 5 stars)
(sales-
weighted)
10
Countries
included
Range of
global sales
included
Healthy products
(HSR)
Products suitable to market
to children (WHO regional
models) - UNSCORED
3.5 Australia, Brazil, China, France, Hong Kong, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, UK, USA 55-60% No.
products
assessed
%
products
healthy
(≥3.5
stars)
%
retail
sales
healthy
2019
(≥3.5
stars) –
assessed
countries
only
% estimated
global
retail
sales
healthy
2019
(≥3.5
stars)
No.
products
assessed
%
products
suitable
% sales
from
suitable
1626 61% 61% 65% 1642 18% 25%

• A total of 1626 products manufactured by Danone, sold in 10 countries, covering five product categories, were included in this Product Profile (baby foods, plain tea and coffee were not assessed). The company’s sales-weighted mean HSR is 3.5 out of 5. ATNI turns this value into a score between 0 and 10, resulting in a mean healthiness score of 6.9 out of 10 for Danone. The company ranks first out of 25 companies in this first scored element (B1.1).

• Overall, 61% of distinct products assessed were found to meet the HSR healthy threshold (HSR >=3.5). Together, these products accounted for an estimated 61% of Danone’s retail sales of packaged food and beverages 2019 in the selected markets (excluding baby food, plain tea, and coffee). Assuming the products and markets included in the assessment are representative of the company’s overall global sales, ATNI estimates the company derived approximately 65% of its global retail sales from healthy products in 2019.

WHO nutrient profiling models (unscored): Only 18% of products assessed were found to be of sufficient nutritional quality to market to children, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) regional nutrient profiling models. These products were estimated to generate 25% of the company’s sales in 2019. More information on this part of the assessment can be found in the Marketing section (Category D) of the Index.

B1.2. Product Category Results

No.
products
analyzed
%
products
healthy
(HSR>=3.5)
Company
mean HSR
Mean HSR for
all companies
selling this
product
category
Company performance
(rank in mean HSR
compared to peers
selling products in
the same category)
Bottled Water - other 108 3% 2.1 2 1st out of 6
Dairy 1470 94% 3.5 2.9 2nd out of 18
RTD Coffee 23 22% 3.9 2.7 2nd out of 6
Bottled Water - pure 25 100% 5 5 1st out of 7

• The ‘Bottled Water- Pure’ category receives a standard rating of five stars, according to the HSR algorithm for all companies. For Danone, ‘RTD Coffee’ was the next best performing category, where a total of 23 products analyzed obtained mean HSR of 3.9 out of 5. ‘Bottled Water – Other’ (2.1) had the lowest mean HSR of all product categories included for Danone.

• For four out of the four categories assessed, Danone’s products perform equal to or better than the mean HSR of companies selling products in the same categories. The company performs best compared to peers in the following product categories; ‘RTD Coffee’ and ‘Dairy’.

• Danone scores 9.6 out of 10 in this second scored element (B1.2) and ranks 1 out of 25 companies. This is based on its ranking compared to peers within the four categories, using the scoring system set out in ATNI’s methodology.

B1.3. Change in mean HSR

No. of products
analyzed in 2018
No. of products
analyzed in 2021
Sales weighted
mean HSR 2018
Sales weighted
mean HSR 2021
Australia 47 49 2.3 3.4
China 27 34 2.4 2.7
Hong Kong 3 2 5 5
Mexico 113 222 2.3 3
South Africa 65 76 3.1 3.3
UK 113 177 3.3 4
USA 391 444 3.8 3.7
TOTAL 759 1004 3.1 3.5

• Danone showed an increase in mean HSR between the 2018 and 2021 Product Profiles (mean HSR=3.1 to 3.5). The change in HSR score only takes into account the seven countries included in both 2018 and 2021 assessment. For Danone, increase observed in mean HSR between 2018 and 2021 may be attributed to an increase in healthiness and proportion of sales from the ‘Dairy’ category, and a decrease in ‘Bottled-water’ sales (this includes ‘Bottled water – other’ category, which has a larger proportion of sales and a much lower HSR).
• Adjusting scores by country sales weighted estimates (which gives more weight to company’s largest markets), Danone achieves an increase of 0.4 in mean HSR between 2018 and 2021, resulting in a score of 8 out of 10 on this element using the scoring system set out in ATNI’s methodology.

Full Product Profile report

Breast-milk Substitutes /
Complementary Food Marketing

1
Rank 1 / Score 68%
Rank BMS
Marketing
Adjustment to
Global Index Score
BMS 1 BMS 2 Level of compliance
in country studies
Max. of -1.5 Philippines Mexico
1 68% -0.48 53% 83% Complete (100%) High (66%)

• Danone is one of the six Index companies included in the BMS/CF Marketing Index. Its score is based on two assessments: BMS/CF 1 which assessed the company’s policy commitments, management systems and disclosure relating to the marketing of its BMS and CF 6-36 products, and BMS/CF 2 which assessed its marketing practices in Mexico and the Philippines during 2020. The BMS/CF Marketing Index score is used to generate a proportionate adjustment to the final Global Index score.
• Danone ranks first again in the BMS/CF Marketing Index with a level of compliance with ATNI’s updated methodology (including WHA 69.9 and a CF module) of 68%.
• Although Danone’s BMS marketing policy is substantially aligned with The Code, gaps remain particularly in regulating marketing within the healthcare system. Danone’s policy does not incorporate commitments to reflect all WHA resolutions including WHA 69.9 which is why it scores lower on policy commitments in the BMS module. The related management systems essentially remained the same with some procedures missing while others were developed in other areas. Danone also scores lower on disclosure compared to 2018 due in part to disclosing less and in part due to not having policy commitments to be able to disclose relating to WHA 69.9. However, among the companies assessed on the CF module, Danone scores the highest in this section with a score of 10% due to having some commitments related to Recommendation 3 of WHA 69.9 on CF product formulation following internationally established standards. Danone’s BMS marketing policy applies to infant formula across all markets but only applies to follow-on formula in higher-risk countries. Thus, its overall score on BMS/CF 1 is 53%.
• To improve its score, Danone should ensure that its BMS marketing policy applies i all markets and extends to all products covered by The Code including growing-up milks and all formulas for special medical purposes. It should also revise its policy and procedures to ensure it encompasses all of the recommendations of the WHA resolutions including WHA 69.9 and incorporate commitments in relation to the marketing of its CF 6-36 products. Danone should ensure that all relevant documents are readily disclosed in the public domain.
• Danone’s score is largely attributed to its aggregate score from the two in-country studies of marketing practices, as it improved since 2018 to a score of 83%, being rated as having a complete level of compliance with The Code in the Philippines and a high level of compliance in Mexico. To bring its marketing practices into line with The Code, it is important that Danone extends its policy to growing-up milks and should ensure the inclusion of all WHA resolutions including WHA 69.9.

BMS/CF Chapter Global Index 2021
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