Areas of strength
- The company participated in the ATNI research process and provided additional information upon request. This is an improvement from 2013 when the assessment had to be conducted using only information publicly available and led to a higher ranking in four out of the seven categories (D, E, F, and G).
- Similar to the first Index, General Mills’ nutrition programs are subject to executive oversight via its Board-level Public Responsibility Committee, and overall nutrition responsibility is allocated to the CEO.
- General Mills shows continued improvement in the nutritional quality of its product portfolio. It now reports that 76% of its products have been nutritionally improved since 2005, up from 64% as reported in the first index.
- General Mills supports the health and wellness of employees through a comprehensive suite of initiatives. These include on-site gyms and nutrition consultations, addressing health through both diet and lifestyle changes.
Areas for improvement
- General Mills’ Health Metric product reformulation system enables products to be included in the company’s health metric achievement list when reductions are made in one of a variety of negative nutrients. This does not equate however to a product meeting a composite healthy threshold.
- Similar to 2013, the reformulation system appears to be confined to U.S. markets, despite the fact that the company generates 33% of its revenues in other markets. A best-practice approach to reformulation would establish absolute minimum/maximum thresholds for each key nutrient, by product category or sub-category, across the group-wide portfolio and in all markets, and would calculate the overall nutritional quality of each product.
- Undernutrition-related disclosure remains limited. The company contributes to the philanthropic industry organization Partners in Food Solutions (PFS), which helps to address micronutrient deficiency in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia. Similar to 2013, there is however little reporting on General Mills’ own commercial undernutrition initiatives. Many products are nutrient-enriched, but there is no evidence that such enrichment is designed and targeted to specific undernourished groups.
- Although the company participates in philanthropic initiatives in certain higher-priority developing countries, it does not make any specific commitment to focus its undernutrition efforts in these locations.
- General Mills’ ranking in the 2013 and 2016 Global Indexes remains the same. Although the company provided additional information through its engagement with the Access to Nutrition Foundation (ATNF), the company still lags leading practice. This shows there is substantial room for improvement in many areas.