Global Index

India Spotlight Index

India Spotlight Index

C. Accessibility findings

Key findings

Nutrition general

  • The accessibility and affordability of healthy and fortified food is still an emerging issue for the industry and the second lowest scoring Category in the India Spotlight Index. Approaches to ensure the affordability and accessibility of healthy products do not appear to be developed by companies as part of an integrated nutrition strategy. Despite this, there are some good practices to learn from and potentially scale up in the Indian market. 
  • Nestlé India is a clear leader with regards to improving the affordability of its healthy and fortified products. The company’s Popularly Positioned Products (PPP) strategy specifically references low-income populations and focusses on improving the pricing of all products for low-income populations. 
  • Hindustan Unilever provides a best-practice example of improving the accessibility of healthy options in India. The company’s Project Shakti enables micro-entrepreneurs to distribute products (including healthy products) in rural areas that are difficult to reach through traditional retail channels. 
  • In general, companies that disclose some initiatives with respect to Category C score higher on addressing the affordability of their products compared to their accessibility.

Undernutrition

  • With respect to Indian companies, Britannia Industries and Parle Products stand out from their local Indian peers. While Britannia Industries does not demonstrate such commitment, it demonstrates performance in this area by assuring affordability of fortified products by decreasing the sizes of its fortified products (Tiger range) in order to make products more affordable for all consumers. The company also funds programs that improve the affordability of products specifically formulated for undernourished groups. 
  • ITC, although not assessed for the India Spotlight Index, provides an interesting case study with respect to assuring the affordability of its fortified edible oils. The company’s Food Product Policy includes a strategy to offer products with affordable and appropriate nutrition, and it references the needs of those who are “economically disadvantaged.” The company also publically discloses this commitment.

Key recommendations

  • All companies are encouraged to adopt formal policies or commitments to promote product affordability and accessibility as a broader issue in the industry, with respect to healthy and fortified products: Companies do not seem to have initiatives and commitments to ensure that their healthiest and/or fortified products are affordable and accessible, particularly to low-income consumers. A good starting point for companies, both multinational and local, is to adopt formal policies or commitments that speak to the need to address these issues in India.
  • All companies are encouraged to take tangible steps to assure the accessibility of their healthy and fortified products: Companies perform poorly when it comes to illustrating that their commercial and non-commercial distribution strategies ensure that their healthy and fortified products are more accessible to all populations. Companies are encouraged to partner with, or provide funding to, schools or non-profit organizations that possess deep knowledge and experience in distributing such products to disadvantaged populations. Mother Dairy, for example, states that it distributes milk in very remote areas through its Cart on Wheels program. 
  • Leading practice companies are encouraged to improve their disclosure about activities with respect to product affordability and accessibility: Companies like Nestlé India, Hindustan Unilever and Parle Products are encouraged to disclose more than just their commitment to product affordability and accessibility. They should provide more general commentary on activities to distribute their healthy and fortified products more widely and to make them more affordable to low-income populations.

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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Funders

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Wellcome Trust

CIFF

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