U.S. Spotlight Index

Global Index

India Spotlight Index

Global Index 2018

Ajinomoto Group

15 (2015)





Product Profile


Nutrition General

A Governance (12.5%)
B Products (25%)
C Accessibility (20%)
D Marketing (20%)
E Lifestyles (2.5%)
F Labeling (15%)
G Engagement (5%)


A Governance (12.5%)
B Products (25%)
C Accessibility (20%)
D Marketing (20%)
E Lifestyles (2.5%)
F Labeling (15%)
G Engagement (5%)

Corporate Profile

# of employees
Market capitalization
$11,487 m
Reported product categories
Soup, Noodles, Concentrates, Frozen Processed Food, Sauces, Dressings
Total revenues*
$10,158 m
Reported revenue by geography**
Not available
* Source: Morningstar, USD historic exchange rate ** Source: Morningstar

Main areas of strength

• Ajinomoto’s score has increased from 1.7 in 2016 to 2.4 in 2018 and it now ranks fourteenth.*
• Stemming from its new Group Nutrition Policy adopted in 2017, the company has established many of the important governance and management systems needed to deliver its strategic commitment to focus on health and nutrition, and is in the early stages of implementing them.
• As recommended by ATNF, Ajinomoto is in the process of adopting an Nutrient Profiling System (NPS). It has committed to use it to develop new healthy options and to reformulate its existing portfolio.
• Since the last Index, Ajinomoto has set out a new roadmap for delivering healthier products. This includes a commitment to improve both their affordability and accessibility.
• The company has a health and wellness program for its employees in Japan that includes a variety of activities, such as seminars on nutrition and subsidies for gym memberships. It evaluates the effectiveness of its wellness program by collecting data from medical check-ups which it analyzes for possible indicators of lifestyle diseases. It is preparing an additional program, for which it will set participation goals, in collaboration with a health insurance union.
• One area in which Ajinomoto performs quite well is undernutrition. It has undertaken a strategic review of the commercial opportunities available by tackling undernutrition, and it is in the process of building systems, processes and capacity to roll-out a commercial undernutrition strategy, directed by a senior executive and with input from experts.
• Since the last Index the company has created the Ajinomoto Foundation, through which it funds a range of philanthropic programs to tackle undernutrition in priority countries. The programs focus on priority groups - infants and young children. It has already done studies in a few developing countries on specific micronutrient deficiencies.

Priority areas for improvement

• Ajinomoto is advised to set clear, SMART targets in all areas and ensure that it has systems to track and clearly report on progress to deliver on its reasonably strong commitments on health and nutrition.
• Ajinomoto ranks eighteenth on the Product Profile with a score of 2.9 out of 10, based on analysis of three of its major product categories in four countries, though excluding Japan which is its main market. As the Product Profile estimated that it derives only 17% of its total sales from healthy products, i.e. those that achieve an HSR of 3.5 stars or more, Ajinomoto appears to have significant scope to improve the healthiness of its portfolio.
• Once Ajinomoto had adopted an NPS, it should identify priority products, brands and countries for reformulation and set a baseline level from which to measure progress. It should also set targets for reformulation and report regularly on progress.
• Ajinomoto should make clear how it intends to ensure the affordability and accessibility of its healthy products, particularly for low-income consumers.
• The company still does not demonstrate a global commitment to responsible marketing by pledging to uphold the ICC Framework for Responsible Food and Beverage Marketing Communications. Ajinomoto is strongly encouraged to commit to adopt comprehensive policies on responsible marketing to all consumers and children in particular, and to publish these.
• Ajinomoto could boost its efforts in all markets to help its employees eat healthy diets and be active, particularly mothers returning to work who wish to continue to breastfeed their babies. It should commit to only support programs aimed at consumer diets and lifestyles designed and implemented by independent expert organizations. It should also commission evaluations of the effectiveness of all of these types of initiatives.
• Ajinomoto should adopt and publish a more extensive global labeling policy that goes beyond simply following local regulations and which embodies international best practice on both back- and front-of-pack labelling.

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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