Product categories assessedBottled Water (other)| Bottled Water (Pure)|Dairy|RTD Coffee|
Percentage of company global sales covered by Product Profile assessment55-60%
Number of employees100000
Type of ownershipPublic
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.
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
● 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 introduction of its labeling policy in ‘Danone Nutritional Achievements’. Furthermore, Danone has introduced 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.
● 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.
- Nutrition strategy
- Nutrition management
- Reporting quality
- Product Profile
- Product formulation
- Defining healthy products
- Product pricing
- Product distribution
- Marketing policy
- Marketing to children
- Auditing and compliance
- Employee health
- Breastfeeding support
- Consumer health
- Product labeling
- Influencing policymakers
- Stakeholder engagement
Detailed Product Profile Results
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
of 5 stars)
|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.
• 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
|Mean HSR for
(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
mean HSR 2018
mean HSR 2021
Breast-milk Substitutes /
Complementary Food Marketing
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%)|