Global Index

India Spotlight Index

Global Index 2016

C. Accessibility findings

Key findings

  • One company stands out as a clear leader in this Category - Nestlé, scoring 6.7 out of 10.
  • Unilever (4.8) and Danone (3.0) also score relatively well.
  • Overall, only 36% (eight) of companies perform above the average score for this Category. Several companies perform relatively well but many perform very poorly or do not score at all (ten companies).
  • As in 2013, performance in this area is among the lowest on the Index. The average score for the Category is 1.2 out of 10. This suggests that most companies place very little emphasis on making healthy and fortified products affordable and accessible to those who need them most.
  • The accessibility and affordability of healthy and fortified foods is still an emerging issue for the industry. Apart from a few leading companies, affordability and accessibility issues do not appear to be integrated by companies as full components of an overall nutrition strategy.
  • Average scores are slightly higher for assessing companies’ efforts to make healthy products more affordable (C1) (1.4 out of 10), than for assessing companies’ efforts to make healthy products more accessible (C2) (0.9 out of 10).
  • Companies were generally able to demonstrate better affordability commitments than in 2013, which often took the form of more detailed company-wide mission statements or publicly available goals. However, apart from the leading companies, these commitments did not translate into improved disclosure or practices.
  • Most company’s efforts were weak and did not appear to be guided by a unifying strategy, i.e. they followed an individual project-based approach rather than taking an overall strategic approach. Currently companies do not hire external input for developing new approaches to making products more affordable.
  • Four companies, Arla, FrieslandCampina, Nestlé and Danone, have developed commercial accessibility commitments and implemented programs that are relatively advanced. Eleven companies are still in the early stages of addressing access to healthy products, with eight of those companies considered to be in the very early stages. Early efforts have been project focused rather than strategic and generally confined to philanthropy via corporate foundations rather than delivered through core business operations. Integration of accessibility considerations into business practices was the most challenging component in this Category for companies. Nestlé has put in place formal commitments, policies, objectives and targets, and its performance in this area distinguishes it as a leader.
  • Current non-commercial leading practice to make fortified products accessible in developing countries is to use local collaboration and micro-distribution channels, including hiring individuals as vendors for their local community. One company – Danone, is expanding its micro-distribution program to other developing countries, indicating that innovative distribution models to reach consumers in difficult contexts can work and be replicated in a meaningful manner. Another example is Unilever´s Shakti micro-distribution programme in India and Africa. Unilever employs rural women to distribute and sell affordable products in their local communities, improving product accessibility in remote villages or other areas where conventional grocery stores are not available.
  • Little is invested in product R&D to improve the long, slow and unrefrigerated supply chains common in low-income regions.
  • Similarly to efforts for making products more affordable, companies do not tend to seek external input from academia, governments, NGOs or other stakeholders to assist in the development of programs to make products more accessible.

Key recommendation

  • Adopt formal policies and set targets: Companies must bridge the gap between broad mission statements and actionable goals. They need to adopt formal policies and commitments for both key issues, affordability and accessibility and set targets to structure their efforts.
  • Put a stronger and more formal focus on core business-driven solutions to accessibility and affordability: Overall, companies need to move from addressing these critical topics only through philanthropic foundations and CSR programs and integrate efforts into core business. The scale of the problem of obesity and undernutrition requires large-scale, sustainable, long-term solutions. These are best delivered through commercial solutions and structured partnerships with leading expert organizations. Although many companies operate nutritionoriented philanthropic projects, these alone are not likely to have the economic sustainability to offer long-term solutions. To enable long-term program impact and sustainability, financial viability must be achieved within the constraints of product affordability in low-income countries.
  • Provide more funding to – or partner with – programs proven to address undernutrition effectively in order to seek innovative solutions for complex supply chain issues:Organizations that specialize in addressing accessibility issues possess deep knowledge and experience that can add value to corporate efforts to address the accessibility of fortified foods. Companies should seek to better support these organizations, either through direct funding or through collaboration. In order to reach economic sustainability, companies should seek to establish publicprivate-partnerships that enable knowledge and infrastructure to be shared and solutions to be delivered. Through collaboration, expert agencies can provide the local knowledge needed to best leverage a company’s large and sophisticated supply chain systems in service of improved nutrition accessibility.

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.

Contact

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Funders

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

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