The company and stakeholder discussions, and the research process for the fi rst India Spotlight Index have convinced ATNF that this Index has the potential to be a valuable tool to monitor the food and beverage industry’s contributions to addressing India’s nutrition challenges and to encourage them to invest more in doing so.
Like the Global Index, ATNF, therefore, intends to publish the India Spotlight Index every two years; the second India Spotlight Index is planned for publication at the end of 2018. Between now and then, the methodology will need to be updated to ensure it remains in line with emerging consensus on good corporate practices, new formal assessments, guidelines and policies issued by authoritative international bodies like the WHO and Codex as well as the Indian government, and changes in the expectations of all ATNI’s stakeholders.
However, ATNF will strive to maintain reasonable comparability between the India Spotlight Index and the Global Index as well as the 2018 and 2016 Indexes and will, therefore, aim to make only minor changes, i.e. not make changes to the overall structure, weighting, scoring etc. but only to individual indicators where necessary.
In developing the second India Spotlight Index, ATNF will consider the following:
- The Index will have greater impact if more companies engage with ATNF in the development of future Indexes, and if it is expanded to cover more food and beverage manufacturers or even retailers, fast food companies and others in the value chain. ATNF will, therefore, consider expanding the number of companies assessed in the 2018 India Spotlight Index.
- To maximize the value of the Index and amplify its impact, it is essential to create a deeper and more widespread awareness in the industry about India’s nutrition challenges and to articulate the need for this rapidly growing sector to become an active, leading player in addressing those challenges. Similarly, the impact of the Index depends in part on other stakeholders taking up its findings and recommendations and working to implement them. ATNF will, therefore, invest in creating awareness of nutrition issues in the industry and will call on other nutrition stakeholders to take action on the first India Spotlight Index findings and recommendations. ATNF intends to do this by, for example, attending relevant conferences and meetings of nutrition networks, policymakers and academics, to feed the gained knowledge from the India Spotlight Index into the Indian nutrition debate.
- The Product Profile has shown how valuable such studies are in establishing a fact-base for companies and other stakeholders to work from to increase the number and range of healthy processed foods and beverages available to Indian consumers. While it has some weaknesses and limitations, these do not undermine its value. The most valuable way Indian stakeholders could strengthen future ATNI Product Profile studies, and similar work of others, is to take an existing well-verified nutrient profiling system and adapt it to the Indian context. Companies in India could then use this system themselves to underpin their reformulation activities, new product development and to restrict marketing to children. ATNF will continue emphasizing the importance of this and will strive to improve the Product Profile methodology.
- With respect to marketing breast-milk substitutes, ATNF hopes that when it conducts a follow-up study for the second India Access to Nutrition Index, no incidences of non-compliance will be found because all BMS companies will have addressed those identified in this study. Moreover, ATNF hopes that the Government will be able to take action to prevent parallel imports and address any non-compliant activities of online retailers and marketing sites.
ATNF will raise all of the above issues in discussions with various stakeholders in India in the coming year (including policymakers, investors, nutrition experts and researchers) to encourage further discussion of them and steps forward. ATNF will also take work forwards in some of these areas and would like to partner with others who would also like to do so. The aim of this work will be to move the India nutrition agenda forwards together and, ultimately to incorporate new guidance and consensus into the ATNI methodology for future India Spotlight Indexes.