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Nestlé document says majority of its food portfolio is unhealthy


The world’s largest food company, Switzerland’s Nestlé acknowledged on Monday in an internal document, that more than 60% of its mainstream food and drinks products do not meet a “recognised definition of health” and that some of the categories and products will never be ‘healthy’ no matter how much they renovate according to swissinfo.ch. 

Nestlé’s presentation that was circulated among top executives early this year, seen by the Financial Times, said only 37% of Nestlé’s food and beverages by revenues, excluding products such as pet food and specialised medical nutrition, achieved a rating above 3.5 under Australia’s health star rating system.

The Australian system scores foods out of five stars and is used in research by international groups such as the Access to Nutrition Foundation.

Nestlé, the Vevey-based maker of KitKats, Maggi noodles and Nescafe, described the 3.5 star threshold as a “recognised definition of health”.

Nestlé’s presentation said within its overall food and drink portfolio, around 70% of Nestlé’s food products failed to meet that threshold, along with 96% of beverages – excluding pure coffee – and 99% of Nestlé’s confectionery and ice cream portfolio.

Water and dairy products scored better, with 82% of waters and 60% of dairy meeting the threshold.

“We have made significant improvements to our products (…) but our portfolio still underperforms against external definitions of health in a landscape where regulatory pressure and consumer demands are skyrocketing,” the presentation said.

The data excludes baby formula, pet food, coffee, and the health science division, which makes foods for people with specific medical conditions. This means the data accounts for about half of Nestlé’s CHF92.6 billion ($103 billion) total annual revenues.