Global Index

India Spotlight Index

Global Index 2016

B. Products findings

Key findings

  • Unilever achieves the highest score of 8.4. This is particularly commendable as changes in the methodology and stricter analysis made it much harder for companies to score well.
  • While Unilever remains the leader, the gap with the next two companies has widened compared to 2013. Nestlé is also commended for continuing to show commitment and leadership in this area, scoring 6.4.
  • Three of the 22 companies analyzed did not disclose any relevant information and scored zero, compared to four out of 25 companies in 2013.
  • The third ranked company, FrieslandCampina, has climbed the ranks significantly due to more engagement and disclosure, having only ranked eighteenth in the 2013 Global Index. Other companies that have significantly improved their rankings are Mars (up to eighth) and Ferrero (up to tenth). Some companies’ positions have slipped since 2013 (Kellogg’s and ConAgra) indicating reduced disclosure.
  • This Category is among the three Categories in which companies score the highest, suggesting that companies overall pay more attention to product composition when addressing global diet-related diseases than they did in 2013. Nonetheless, the average score is still very low, at only 2.8 points.
  • While most companies have made some commitments to improving the nutritional quality of all or some of their products and are introducing new healthier products, in general, their efforts remain inadequate to properly address global nutrition challenges. Nineteen of the 22 companies are making some changes to product formulation, but the scale and scope of these varies substantially, with scores on ‘B1: Product formulation’ ranging from 0.0 to 7.7.
  • Thirteen of 22 companies (59%) report having an NPS and so score on ‘B2: Nutrient profiling’, compared to 48% of companies that scored in this area in 2013. These companies generally perform better in section B1 than those who do not show evidence of an NPS, as well as across the Index, as the score on B2 determines the level of healthy multiplier scoring applied throughout.
  • Only Danone and Unilever were able to provide data on the percentage of their products in different regions that meet the standard that enables them to be advertised to children (i.e. that they are healthy).
  • Ajinomoto, Danone, FrieslandCampina, Mondelez, Nestlé, Coca-Cola and Unilever have explicitly committed to tackle undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies in developing countries through targeted fortification of their products.
  • Four companies differentiate themselves in terms of product reformulation for undernourished populations: Ajinomoto, Nestlé, Unilever and Danone. They have all committed to tackle undernutrition through initiatives that aim to increase the number/volume of fortified foods available to undernourished populations, targeting priority countries and disclosing information about their initiatives in this area.

Key recommendation

  • Adopt an NPS: The pace at which companies are adopting a robust NPS is still slow, even though there has been a small increase in the proportion of companies providing evidence of using one. An NPS is an essential element of any serious nutrition strategy, as it provides the basis for identifying which products need their nutritional quality improved. It also provides a consistent centralized means of monitoring progress and the proportion of healthier products in portfolios. The companies exhibiting robust systems clearly differentiate themselves from others by demonstrating a strong commitment to improving their portfolios, thereby also potentially increasing their market shares in healthy products segments. The companies that have not yet adopted an NPS should do so in order to drive healthy product innovation and reformulation in line with WHO recommendations for healthy diets. A good NPS should be aligned with internationally recognized standards, reviewed and verified by expert stakeholders, cover all products, and assess both negative and positive nutrients. They should either use a scoring system that scores products on a sliding scale or a threshold system that sets maximum and minimum nutrient levels by sub-category.
  • Set clear nutrition R&D targets: While many companies reported having R&D activities to enhance the nutritional quality of their products, very few could demonstrate concrete targets in terms of R&D budgets allocated to achieving this goal. Companies are encouraged to establish targets with respect to the amounts they plan to invest in product innovation, including developing fortified products to address the specific dietary needs of the undernourished.
  • Establish product reformulation targets: While 16 companies have commitments for reducing/eliminating ‘negative’ nutrients and increasing/adding ‘positive’ nutrients, Ajinomoto, Lactalis, Heinz, Wahaha, Kraft, and Tingyi failed to disclose one single target. Companies are encouraged to transform their products in a more systematic manner by setting concrete targets and deadlines.
  • Conduct regular performance assessments on meeting product reformulation targets: Companies should establish systems to capture their progress towards increasing their offering of healthier products, both for the general market and for children. This data should be gathered across global operations and should measure volume of products reformulated, as well as their sales values. Further, this data should be published in order to demonstrate that progress is, in fact, being made.
  • Focus on high-priority countries and target groups for delivering fortified products: While companies show evidence of delivering fortified products to undernourished populations, these efforts often seem sporadic and unfocused. In order to make a meaningful contribution to addressing undernutrition, companies should systematically concentrate on countries and populations that experts have identified as being in greatest need. Companies scoring relatively poorly in this Category (i.e. below 5.0) need to put much more emphasis on addressing undernutrition by developing more extensive and formal commercial strategies, rather than relying on limited philanthropic efforts, which alone are unlikely to deliver solutions at scale.

Improving nutrition for all

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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