Global Index

India Spotlight Index

India Spotlight Index

F. Labeling findings

Key findings

  • Hindustan Unilever places highest overall in Category F, with a score of 8.4. Nestlé India also scores high at 8.2. The top four scoring companies in Category F are all Indian subsidiaries of multinational companies, followed by Britannia Industries, Indian-based company, ranking fifth. Despite this, Category F is an area in which companies, in general, demonstrate low performance.
  • In general, Indian-based companies demonstrate a low level of commitment to disclose nutritional information. Scores in this category remain low, with an average score of only 3.3 and none disclose a commitment to back-ofpack and/or front-of-pack labeling. However, Mother Dairy and Britannia Industries have taken the first step by disclosing some commitments and initiatives to provide nutritional information on products.
  • With respect to compliance with Codex CAC/GL 2-1985. Mondelez India, Nestlé India, Coca-Cola India and Hindustan Unilever apply their strong global commitments to disclose nutritional information on a per serving basis for both single and multiple portion products. Mother Dairy is the only Indian-based company to demonstrate best practice in this area by complying with Codex CAC/GL 2-1985 for both single and multiple portion products. 
  • Although most products on the market that were assessed by The George Institute comply with Indian labeling regulations (for most of the companies, compliance was over 90%) only Mondelez India, Hindustan Unilever and Nestlé India label their products to a large extent in line with voluntary Codex guidelines (85%, 79% and 61% of products respectively). 
  • Only Britannia Industries and Coca-Cola India demonstrate best practice in term of providing nutrition information online. They disclosed that they provide this online on their websites (in sections dedicated to their products) for 90% or more of all their products offered in India. Mother Dairy and Hindustan Unilever provide nutritional information online on their websites for between 50-90% of their products, indicating progress towards best practice. 
  • Indian subsidiaries of all five multinational companies disclose that they will only place a nutrition claim on a product if that claim complies with Codex. Mother Dairy is the only Indian-based company to demonstrate this best practice with respect to nutrition claims.

Key recommendations

  • Indian-based companies particularly should adopt formal commitments to provide nutrition information on product labels beyond legal requirements: While Indian-based companies may be providing some nutrition information on their products, they do not disclose any systematic policies or commitments in this area that go beyond legal requirements, e.g. by providing fuller nutrition information as stipulated by Codex. This is a key area for improvement, as policies demonstrate a company’s strategic commitment to increased disclosure.
  • Indian-based companies should adopt policies that comply with Codex, both with respect to product labeling, and with respect to health and nutrition claims: As stipulated in Codex CAC/GL 2-1985 for product labeling, companies should disclose nutritional information on a per portion basis – Mother Dairy is the only Indian-based company that commits to doing so for both single and multiple portion products. With regard to labeling, all companies can improve by complying with Codex standards by providing information on two additional components – saturated fat and sodium3. Moreover, companies originating in India can also improve by stating their commitment to comply with Codex guidance on health and nutrition claims. None of the Indian-based companies, except Mother Dairy, state that they will only place a health or nutrition claim on their product when it complies with Codex. Mother Dairy sets a positive example, as it states that when the national Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) regulations are not stated, it endeavors to take into account Codex guidance. 
  • All companies should provide full nutrition information online: In order to make the nutrition content of their products easily and widely accessible, all companies should aim to increase publication of nutrition information online. For the 2016 India Spotlight Index, only Britannia Industries and Coca-Cola India disclosed that they provide nutritional information online for 90% or more of all 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

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Funders

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

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