The food and beverage industry can and should play a more active role in addressing both obesity and diet-related chronic diseases and undernutrition. This was also the finding of the second Global Nutrition Report, which acknowledges the important role that businesses play in shaping consumer choices and how they can have both positive and negative effects on nutrition. The amount and quality of calories consumed on a daily basis, the overall dietary context in which they are consumed, and consumers’ lifestyles are all important factors in determining the impact of different foods and beverages on health. The contribution of business in terms of direct investment, developing new technologies and aligning business incentives and behavior with the social objectives of sustainable development is also essential to accomplish the Sustainable Development Goals targets.
The actions that food and beverage companies can take to improve their impact, include:
Some companies have already begun to play a role in helping to prevent and/or address undernutrition, including among the most vulnerable. For example, through the SUN business network whose main aim is motivate and mobilise businesses to acknowledge that they have a role to play in ensuring the right to food and nutrition. Nevertheless, an enormous problem remains, indicating that there is additional scope for more companies to join those that have already taken action to address undernutrition and to expand those initiatives demonstrated to be effective.
The Access to Nutrition Index rates food and beverage manufacturers´ nutrition-related policies, practices and disclosures worldwide on a recurring basis.
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