Global Index

India Spotlight Index

India Spotlight Index

B. Products findings

Key findings

Nutrition general

  • Category B is one of the highest scoring Categories in the 2016 India Spotlight Index. Overall the food and beverage companies in India are making some efforts to improve the nutritional quality of their products. However, the wide gap between the fi rst two companies that rank highest in this Category – Nestlé India and Hindustan Unilever and their counter-parts is signifi cant. The Indian food industry as a whole has a long way to go to ensure that consumers are able to buy a wide range of healthy food and beverages. 
  • Companies that score above average – Nestlé India, Hindustan Unilever, PepsiCo India and Mondelez India – are all subsidiaries of global corporations that use the NPSs of their parent companies when innovating or reformulating their products in India. None of their peers assessed for this Index (Coca-Cola India and all companies originating in India – Britannia Industries, Mother Dairy, Amul and Parle Products), report having an NPS.
  • Coca-Cola India, Hindustan Unilever, Mondelez India, Nestlé India and PepsiCo India have product reformulation targets in place that are aligned with global targets established by their parent companies, except Coca-Cola India’s targets that are specifi c to this market. The other companies did not report on such targets. 
  • Britannia Industries and Mother Dairy demonstrate relatively good performance compared to their local Indian counterparts. Overall, it seems that both companies have a serious interest in innovating their portfolios and reviewing their approach to healthy product innovation and reformulation. Both Britannia Industries and Mother Dairy actively participated in the engagement process during the research phase, through which they provided information not available in the public domain.
  • Two Indian-based companies – Amul and Parle Products – did not disclose any relevant policies or program, resulting in the score of 0.
  • Six out of nine companies2 assessed for the 2016 India Spotlight Index disclosed a commitment to channel resources to their R&D departments to innovate healthy products designated for the Indian market.

Undernutrition

  • Britannia Industries is the top-performing company in terms of having a structured approach to addressing micronutrient defi ciencies among the Indian population through product fortification. Over and above a range of commitments and programs, the company engages in other non-commercial initiatives aimed at disseminating fortified products to those who need them. For example, the company distributes fortified biscuits to children over six and adolescent girls through a project funded by its Britannia Industries Nutrition Foundation. These products fall under the company’s Health and Wellness portfolio and are specially designed to address micronutrient defi ciencies. For example, Tiger biscuits formulated for children are fortified with iron and folic acid. The company, however, does not commit to only fortifying products of high underlying nutritional quality: none of the companies do.
  • Nestlé India also performs relatively well with regard to addressing undernutrition. It has a strong, long-term commitment to addressing micronutrient defi ciencies in India by offering products fortified with essential micronutrients. Nestlé India’s Popularly Positioned Products (PPP) are fortified with key nutrients such as iron, zinc, iodine and vitamin A. The company commits to fortifying products that meet following criteria: Address specifi c micronutrient needs among the target population; are affordable and consumed by the target population; and contribute to a healthy diet.
  • PepsiCo India, Mondelez India, Coca-Cola India and Hindustan Unilever report only fragmented information regarding their strategies to tackle micronutrient defi ciencies in India through product fortification. This indicates that full-scale commercial product fortifi cation programs are yet to be developed by these companies. Of note, although Mother Dairy provides limited public commentary on its work in this area, upon engagement, it stated that its product fortification activities span many decades and form a comprehensive strategy. Similarly, in terms of philanthropic programs in this area, these companies generally demonstrate some activities rather than a comprehensive approach. 
  • Amul and Parle Products do not publish any details on their product fortification strategies.

Key recommendations

  • Adopt a Nutrient Profi ling System (NPS): Companies that have not yet adopted an NPS should do so, and create a comprehensive strategy to develop healthier products; an NPS should lie at the heart of such a strategy. An NPS is used either to set desirable levels for key nutrients in products or to rank products on their relative contribution to a healthy diet or both. Companies should use their NPS to guide their product reformulation and innovation activities. While there is no single NPS appropriate to all companies, the international community has developed a wide range of systems that they could adapt with the help of nutrition experts and based on the specifi cs of each company’s business model. 
  • Set product reformulation targets: All companies are encouraged to commit to reducing the levels of salt, saturated fats, trans-fatty acids and sugars across their product portfolios by setting specifi c targets and deadlines. The goal should be to ensure that more products meet the healthy standards defi ned by a robust NPS. Creating more affordable, healthy food choices will help consumers adopt healthier eating habits.
  • Track the nutritional value of product portfolios: Once companies set targets for improving product composition, they should adopt systems to monitor progress. This will help their management to track progress and prepare them to respond to changing dietary trends and related regulations. The companies can gradually step up their commitments to achieve greater impact over time.
  • Increase the proportion of products suitable for consumption by children: Children are particularly affected by poor diets, as their physical health and strength are developing. To prevent the negative health effects of unhealthy foods consumed during childhood, companies should ensure that all products in their portfolio that have been designed for consumption by children are of an appropriate nutritional quality – which will be different in some products to the appropriate nutritional quality for adults. 
  • Implement a comprehensive undernutrition strategy: Considering the large number of undernourished consumers in India, those companies that have not yet done so should also adopt a systemic approach to tackling undernutrition. Initiatives could include: identifying specifi c micronutrient defi ciencies in different areas and among different populations; identifying which products are suitable for fortification and which could have considerable impact; establishing policies and standards to guide product fortification activities; and producing fortified products tailored to the needs of priority populations, which include young children and women of childbearing age. 
  • Engage in philanthropic activities: Companies are encouraged to use their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) budgets to disseminate their own or third-party fortified products to those people who need them, but cannot afford or have diffi culties in accessing them. Ideally, companies would collaborate with independent expert organizations that design and deliver such programs, and ensure that they are designed as part of a long-term philanthropic strategy rather than a one-off activity.
  • Increase disclosure: To engender trust among customers, foster collaboration in the industry and provide a basis for dialogue with government offi cials, companies are also encouraged to publicly disclose information about their activities aimed at eliminating malnutrition in all its forms by delivering more nutritious products.

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

Access to Nutrition Foundation
Arthur van Schendelstraat 500
3511 MH Utrecht
The Netherlands
+31 (0)30 410 09 16

info@accesstonutrition.org

Funders

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Wellcome Trust

CIFF

© Copyright Access to Nutrition Foundation. All rights reserved. | Disclaimer | Legal