“ATNI sees food and beverage companies in India showing their commitment to provide healthy food and engaging in a dialogue on how to support India’s Eat Right Movement. Lifestyle changes in India have caused a shift in consumer habits – from the consumption of traditional food, to more urban food habits consisting of packaged and processed foods, high in sugar, fat and salt.”
Inge Kauer, Executive Director, Access to Nutrition Initiative
The Access to Nutrition India Spotlight Index 2020 has been developed by the Access to Nutrition Initiative (ATNI) to drive positive change in the food and beverage industry in India on diet, nutrition and health issues. It is the second iteration of the Index, first published in 2016. It aims to support efforts by all stakeholders, including the government-led Eat Right India movement, to address all forms of malnutrition. It focuses on the contribution being made by the 16 largest food and beverage (F&B) manufacturers in India, by providing comprehensive, independent, comparable and objective information about these companies’ policies, practices and disclosure related to nutrition. As such, the Index serves as a private sector accountability tool, which stakeholders can use to hold the companies to account for delivering on their commitments to tackle these important national challenges.
The second India Spotlight Index covers the same topics and takes the same broad approach to assessing companies, and to scoring and ranking them, as the first iteration. After the successful launch of the 2016 Index, ATNI followed up with stakeholders and companies in India to solicit feedback. This input fed into the development of the India Spotlight Index 2020. In the intervening time, the impact of food and beverage companies on the nutrition and health of Indian consumers has risen and is better understood. Read the full research scope of this Index here.
Hindustan Unilever and Nestlé India rank joint first with a score of 6.9 out of 10. There has been some progress among the nine previously assessed companies and their average score increased from 3 in 2016 to 4.2 in 2020. Two companies have shown substantial individual progress across most elements of the Index since 2016: Britannia Industries (1.6 to 4.9) and Coca-Cola India (2.4 to 4.4). However, the average Index score is 3.1 out of 10, similar to that of the 2016 iteration.
The 16 largest food and beverage manufacturers were selected based on 2018 retail sales, for the India Spotlight Index 2020. Together, they accounted for 31% of India’s packaged food and beverage market share with a combined total retail sales of just over INR 1800 billion.
The India Spotlight Index 2020 shows some progress on nutrition among the 16 largest food and beverage manufacturers in India. These companies account for nearly a third of the food and beverage market. Most are taking action to fortify their products or have committed to reformulate their products in line with the Government’s initiatives to address India’s nutrition challenges. However, few provide evidence of comprehensively tackling undernutrition, micro-nutrient deficiencies, and overweight and obesity, in all relevant business areas. Current industry efforts are not sufficient to match the scale of the nutrition challenge that India faces.
Current industry efforts are not sufficient to match the scale of the nutrition challenge that India faces.
The overall ‘healthiness’ of Indian food and beverage manufacturers’ product portfolios, as well as their public disclosure of nutrition-focused initiatives and progress, remain low.
Companies must focus their efforts on population groups that are malnourished or are at high risk of malnutrition, by defining objectives adapted to the diverse nutritional needs of the states in which the companies are active.
India continues to face a double burden of malnutrition, defined as the simultaneous manifestation of both undernutrition and overweight and obesity. Malnutrition not only directly affects people’s physical growth and health but also their cognitive development and abilities. It has been identiﬁed as one of the principal factors limiting India’s economic growth potential. The opportunities are equally enormous; cost-benefit ratio analyses of nutrition interventions to reduce stunting in the first year of life report a monetary return (higher wages) later in life of 18:1 per child, and similar analyses found that a 1 cm increase in adult height due to nutrition interventions was associated with a 4% increase in wages for men, and 6% for women.
In recognition of India’s nutrition challenges, in early 2018, the Government launched the National Nutrition Mission (NNM), also known as POSHAN Abhiyaan, with ambitious targets to reduce various forms of malnutrition and substantial associated budgets. It has also led many initiatives such as the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), the Mid-Day Meal Scheme, the Maternity Benefit Program and the Public Distribution System (PDS), which all provide food at subsidized rates. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has developed a range of guidelines and standards for food manufacturers, and works with many stakeholders active in the food system.
Aligning with FSSAI’s wide-scale staple foods fortification standards, the Ministry of Women and Child Development has issued new directives to mandatorily use fortified rice, as well as fortified wheat flour and edible oil, in the Mid-Day Meal schemes and public nutrition programs under the ICDS across India since December 2019. To further this agenda, in 2019, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has approved a 3-year pilot scheme for the fortification of rice with iron, folic acid and vitamin B-12 under the PDS in 15 districts of India.
The food and beverage sector is the fifth largest manufacturing sector in India. Lifestyle changes in India have caused a shift in consumer habits – with an increased consumption of sugar, fat and salt. India is one of the top 10 consumers of fast food in the world and is set to be the third largest consumer economy by 2025.
Almost two-thirds of the disease burden in India is due to lifestyle diseases. Many of these diseases are diet-related non-communicable diseases that link with changes in diets and eating patterns. Several factors have led to the increased consumption of products from the fast-growing food and beverage segments in India (Breakfast Cereals; Savory Snacks; Seasonings, Dressings and sauces; Naturally Healthy Beverages; Ready Meals; Confectionery; Organic Food; Dairy Food; Bakery).
When considering these factors and segments, combined with the enormous total consumer base of over 1.25 billion, the opportunity is clear for existing as well as new players in the fast growing food and beverages market to develop healthy, affordable and tasty products to improve the diets and health of India consumers.Full Context Story
The Access to Nutrition India Spotlight Index is a private sector accountability tool. ATNI’s goal in compiling the Index is to enable all stakeholders to use its findings and recommendations in their work to encourage India’s largest food and beverage manufacturers to address the country’s substantial, and mounting, health challenges linked to diet and nutrition. By providing objective, comparable information and data, ATNI hopes to enable the companies themselves, and their stakeholders, to track the progress of these influential manufacturers in improving policies, practices and disclosure, as well as the nutritional quality of their products over time.
After the publication of this second India Spotlight Index, ATNI will follow up with one-to-one meetings with each company to review the findings and recommendations. It will also present and solicit feedback on the results at different fora in India. ATNI will also publish, on a rolling basis, thematic ‘deep dives’ that outline the findings for specific categories of the Index following the publication of the main results.
The India Spotlight Index assesses companies’ nutrition-related commitments, practices and disclosure and is organized into three sections: nutrition governance and management; formulating and delivering appropriate, affordable and accessible products; and influencing consumer choice and behavior. The sections are further divided into seven thematic categories that are shown below.
This category assesses the extent to which a company’s corporate strategy includes a specific commitment and focus on health and nutrition in the Indian market. Moreover, it looks at whether the company makes a specific reference to population groups experiencing or at high risk of malnutrition due to a lack of access to a wide variety of healthy foods. Other key facets analyzed include whether the nutrition strategy is thoroughly embedded in its governance and management systems, as well as the quality of its reporting.Findings
Companies in India can help consumers in making healthier choices by improving the nutritional quality of foods made available to them. In addition to analyzing the healthiness of the company’s product portfolio, i.e. Product Profile results in B1, this category addresses companies' efforts to achieve this goal through research and development (R&D), new product formulation, reformulation of existing products, and tackling undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies by developing fortified products or using fortified ingredients. It also assesses the quality of the nutrient profiling system that companies use (if any) to guide their product-formulation efforts.Summary
Producing healthier options is necessary but insufficient on its own to improve consumers’ access to nutritious foods and beverages, and to drive up their consumption. Therefore, companies must offer them at competitive prices and distribute them widely to reach all consumers in need especially those who are vulnerable to malnutrition. This category assesses companies' efforts to make their healthy products more affordable and accessible to Indian consumers through their approaches to pricing and distribution.Findings
This category captures the extent to which companies support all Indian consumers, including children and teenagers, to make healthy choices by adopting responsible marketing practices and by prioritizing the marketing of their healthier products.Findings
F&B manufacturers in India can support their staff to eat healthy diets and pursue active lifestyles by providing employee health and wellness programs. In addition to other benefits, these programs can help to facilitate a corporate culture focused on nutrition. Supportive working practices and the provision of appropriate facilities can ensure that companies support breastfeeding mothers in giving their infants the healthiest start to life. Companies can also help consumers to adopt healthy diets and active lifestyles by supporting education programs, especially by those that target groups suffering from various forms of malnutrition. This category assesses the extent to which companies support such efforts.Findings
One important means of promoting healthy diets and addressing malnutrition is to provide consumers with accurate, comprehensive and readily understandable information about the nutritional composition and potential health benefits of what they eat. This can promote better nutrition by helping consumers choose appropriate products to manage their weight and prevent or address diet-related chronic disease, and to raise awareness of products that address micronutrient deficiencies. This category assesses companies' approaches to product labeling and use of health and nutrition claims, across product portfolios and in accordance with local and international standards (Codex Alimentarius).Findings
By responding to requests from policymakers and policymaking bodies, and supporting government activities and positions on nutrition policies, companies can have an impact on Indian consumers’ access to nutrition. In addition, constructive engagement by companies with a wide range of other stakeholders (including international organizations, civil society and academics) can help to strengthen their strategies and policies and provide valuable feedback on their relevance and effectiveness. This category focuses on companies' engagement with stakeholders on nutrition-related issues.Findings
Visualize progress at a glance with ATNI trend-tracking tool.
Embracing the latest progress in data visualization is an important objective for ATNI. With our trend-tracking tool, we intend to provide our stakeholders with a simple interactive interface which allows anyone to select companies, indicators and specific time ranges to compare companies ‘performance across time and within specific categories. To guarantee the overall consistency of our data across different channels of communication, we retrieve data from a single data source, namely our different indexes. Allowing our stakeholders to generate and download their own comparisons also helps us to ensure that ATNI’s findings are actively used and embedded in ongoing nutrition related initiatives.
Improving nutrition for all Indians
End hunger, achieve
food security and
lives and promote
well-being for all
Driving the private sector’s performance on healthy, affordable diets is a crucial factor to reach India’s National Nutrition Mission and the goals of the Eat Right India movement. Reaching these goals for more than 1.25 billion citizens in India is also a prerequisite to reach the 2030 worldwide agenda of Sustainable Development including zero hunger and good health and well-being for all. This ATNI India Index finds food companies in India show their commitment to provide healthy food and discuss how to support the Poshan Abhiyaan mission and the Eat Right India movement. More innovative, healthy and affordable products can and should be introduced to make a real difference.
The second India Spotlight Index was produced by the ATNI India Index project team which consists of Fiona Kirk, Osien Kuumar, Paul Vos and Mark Wijne. For the company research, analysts Julia Llados I Vila, David Jerome and Estefania Marti Malvido complemented the team. ATNI executive director Inge Kauer, senior advisor Rachel Crossley and program intern Sofie van den Berg helped review texts and data.
As noted in the methodology section of the report, the ATNI team drew on the expertise and advice of two advisory groups, a group of expert reviewers in India and the ATNI international Expert Group. Their close engagement throughout the development process for the methodology of the India Spotlight Index 2020 has been a source of invaluable guidance, and this report benefited greatly from their input and advice (group composition and names in the full acknowledgment). The views expressed in this report, however, do not necessarily reflect the views of these two groups’ members or of the institutions they represent.
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