ATNI partnership with ShareActionProject
Access to Nutrition Initiative develops and publishes private sector accountability tools for various countries, tailored to their specific context.
ATNI intends to play its part in tackling the UK’s diet-driven health challenges by rating and tracking over time the contribution major UK food companies make to addressing them.
Funded by Impact on Urban Health, part of Guy’s & St Thomas’ Foundation, Healthy Markets is designed to tackle rising childhood obesity levels in the U.K. As with other ShareAction initiatives, Healthy Markets works with institutional asset owners, pension schemes and individual savers concerned about the impacts their investments are having on society.
Healthy Markets is building to a coalition of investors – which includes some of ATNI’s Investor Signatories – to press UK food and drinks companies to do all they can to improve their consumers’ diets.
In September 2019, ATNI published the first UK Product Profile:
In March 2020, ATNI published the UK Supermarket Spotlight:
In May 2021, ATNI published the methodology for the UK Retailer Index 2022:
In September 2021, ATNI published the UK Product Profile 2021:
The Profuct Profile 2019 presents an analysis excerpted from research initially published within the Global Access to Nutrition Index 2018.
The U.K. Product Profile paints a picture of the overall nutritional quality of the products sold by 18 of the world’s largest food and beverage manufacturers in the UK market. The Product Profile found that only 937 of all products analyzed across 18 product categories (31%) meet the Health Star Rating (HSR) healthy threshold of 3.5 stars out of 5. The other 2,132 products (69%) fell below that level.
Based on the findings of this analysis, ATNI recommended food and beverage manufacturers reformulate their products to improve their nutritional quality, adopt a stringent nutrient profiling system similar to the HSR system, stop marketing products that are not healthy to children, increase the proportion of marketing dedicated to healthier products, take a structured approach to addressing nutrition by adopting SMART targets for key nutrients, and improve their accountability through better annual reporting.U.K. Product Profile Report
The UK Product Profile 2021 assesses the nutritional quality of 4,207 products from 16 of the world’s largest food and beverage manufacturers selling in the UK, using the data from the Global Index 2021. The products analysed accounted for approximately 50% of total UK retail sales of manufacturer brands’ packaged foods and beverages in 2019.
Findings from this report reveal that the average mean HSR for all products assessed is only 2.2 out of 5 stars and only 32% of the products assessed met the healthy threshold of 3.5 out of 5 stars. Results indicate that companies need to do more to improve the nutritional quality of their products in the UK. Yet, the report also revealed that manufacturers can make progress on nutrition. Sales from healthy products increased from 22% in 2019 to 29% in 2021, and the sales-weighted mean HSR for nine out of the 16 companies assessed also increased since the UK Product Profile 2019.
ATNI recommends that companies introduce healthier product varieties, adopt a robust nutrient profiling model, improve accountability through better reporting, including disclosing the proportion of sales derived from healthy foods, and re-direct investments towards marketing of healthier products.
In March 2020, ATNI published the UK Supermarket Spotlight, which analysed the disclosure of the 10 largest supermarket chains on diet, nutrition and health, using a methodology developed in consultation with experts.
ATNI found that most of the 10 retailers appear to recognise that they have a role to play in addressing the UK’s diet and health-related challenges, but that their reporting is limited. Sainsbury’s reports most extensively, on 35% of the indicators used for this assessment, followed by Marks & Spencer at 33% – though these two companies, plus four others, only achieved a Grade D (reporting on between 20% and 39% of all indicators). The remaining four companies were rated Grade E as they reported on fewer than 20% of indicators. Asda and Iceland have the most to do to improve their disclosure, scoring 8% and 7% respectively. None of the retailers achieved a grade of A, B or C.
The latest project in this ongoing partnership between ATNI and Share Action is the first full UK Retailer Index, to be published in early 2022.
The Methodology for this Index, which will assess 11 UK grocery retailers (the same ones assessed in the UK Supermarket Spotlight plus the rapidly growing only-only retailer Ocado) across eight key nutrition topics, was published in May 2021.