Global Index

India Spotlight Index

India Spotlight Index

FAQ India

Why are manufacturers of breast-milk substitutes assessed separately on their BMS marketing practices?

Companies that manufacture breast-milk substitutes (BMS) are assessed on their BMS marketing practices because breastfeeding is an integral part of good nutrition from the beginning of life, particularly in low-income settings where breast milk can be a lifesaver for vulnerable infants. The marketing policies of major manufacturers have an impact on the decisions of mothers whether and how long to breast feed their babies. The study assessed the marketing of eight baby food producers whose products were found in the study area – Greater Mumbai. 

Could companies elect whether to be included in the Index?

Companies did not have a choice whether to be included in ATNI. However, companies had the option not to take part in the engagement phase of the research. For companies that chose not to participate, their evaluation was based solely on publicly available information.

Where can I find the methodology documents of the 2016 India Spotlight Index?

For more details about the methodology please visit the Resources section of the website. 

Why haven’t you included an assessment of BMS companies’ policies, management systems, audits and disclosure on BMS as you did for the Global Index?

For the first India Index, it was decided to focus solely on companies’ marketing practices, as these are of greatest interest to local stakeholders.  Further, if stakeholders are interested in the policies and management systems of the multinational BMS companies, the research and findings of the 2016 Global Index are relevant to the Indian context, as the companies’ policies and management systems apply globally.

Why was Mumbai selected for the BMS in-country assessment?

Greater Mumbai was chosen as the geographical location for the study on the advice of ATNF’s Expert Group. It has one the highest population densities in India and high GDP per capita, likely making it an appealing market for infant foods companies. Moreover, a similar study had previously been carried out in Delhi by PWC on behalf of FTSE4Good; ATNF, therefore, wished to conduct its study in a different location.

How were companies selected for assessment and why are pharmaceutical companies included as well?

The assessment included all companies whose products were found in the study area – Greater Mumbai. In total 44 products were found made by 8 companies:

  1. Amul
  2. Abbott Laboratories
  3. Groupe Danone
  4. Hain Celestial
  5. Heinz
  6. Mead Johnson Nutrition
  7. Nestlé S.A.
  8. Raptakos Brett

Only Amul and Nestle are constituents of the India Index and therefore receive a BMS score which is taken into account in their overall India Index score by making a deduction of between 0 and -0.75 (out of 10).

Why have you included the BMS companies in the assessment? Shouldn’t they have been given zero score or been excluded from the Index altogether?

ATNI Indexes are designed to assess the overall contribution companies make to preventing and addressing obesity and diet-related chronic diseases, and to undernutrition. While we recognize the critical importance of supporting and promoting breastfeeding, ATNF has chosen to include BMS companies rather than exclude them, and to assess whether their marketing of BMS complies with the International Code and subsequent WHA resolutions, and the IMS Act of 1992, amended in 2003. This enables comparison with their competitors who do not manufacture BMS.

Which products are included in the Product Profile research?

Products eligible for inclusion were defined as ‘all packaged foods and non-alcoholic beverages manufactured by the included companies available for purchase in India.’ However, several types of product were excluded from the analysis: unprocessed meat, poultry, fish and raw agricultural commodities (e.g. fresh vegetables, grains); plain tea and coffee, and condiments such as herbs, vinegars and spices because nutrient profiling is not appropriate for these single ingredient foods; infant formulas, and baby food and baby beverages, because these products are not consumed by the general population and the selected models are not appropriate for their evaluation.

How many companies were engaged during the research process and provided additional information?

7 out of 10 companies that have been assessed for the India Index submitted additional data during the research process. In addition, two companies that have experience with the fortification of commodities agreed to participate in interviews.

How did you engage with the food and beverage companies throughout this process?

Companies provided their feedback during various company consultation meetings that have been organized in India between 2013-early 2016. They were offered the opportunity to go into the online data-gathering platform and to engage with Sustainalytics once initial desk-based research was completed.

Companies were all offered the opportunity to review their draft Scorecards and check them for factual accuracy. The ATNI project team have also responded to companies’ questions throughout the process and kept them updated about progress. In November 2016, one month prior to the launch, ATNF organized a meeting to share launch plans.

How was the Corporate Profile methodology developed?

The India Spotlight Index is modelled on the Global Access to Nutrition Index, which was initially developed over a three-year period (2010 – 2012) through extensive, multi-stakeholder consultation with companies, governments, international organizations, civil society, academia, and investors. It was guided by advice from an independent, multi-stakeholder advisory panel and a group of international experts on nutrition, including Dr. Pandav and Dr. Yadav from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

In 2012 the India Index was piloted by assessing the ten largest companies by revenue. The pilot used the Global Index Methodology adapted where necessary to reflect the local regulatory context. In addition, ATNF undertook a pilot ‘Product Profile’ exercise, to evaluate the nutritional quality of around 50% of all foods and drinks made available for sale by the ten companies. The pilot outcomes were discussed with the companies involved but were not published.

After piloting the concept of an India Spotlight Index, ATNF consulted extensively with stakeholders on how the India Spotlight Index should be developed to suit the Indian context. Various companies, industry associations (Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce (FICCI), civil society organizations, academia and policymakers were involved in roundtables, meetings and one-on-one consultations. The ATNF Expert Group, again, provided advice on all aspects of the methodology.

The stakeholder consensus was that ATNI had potential in India. They also appreciated and supported adapting the methodology to the Indian context, particularly focussing on topics of great importance and relevance in India, including food fortification for the undernourished, consumer education, clean water and sanitation, food safety and companies’ approach to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), given the  recently introduced CSR tax (which companies can allocate to addressing nutrition)i. Stakeholders also supported assessing the role of companies in stemming the alarming increase of overweight and obese people in India and diet-related diseases, such as diabetes.

In April 2016, the final draft methodology was presented to the companies shortlisted for inclusion in the first India Spotlight Index.

What does the India Spotlight Index methodology consist of?

The India Index methodology comprises three components: 

  • Corporate Profile – assessing companies’ nutrition and undernutrition-related commitments and policies, practices and disclosure in seven Categories: 
  • Product Profile – assessing the nutritional quality of the products of all companies included in the India Index 
  • Breast-milk substitutes marketing assessment –  a study that assesses the marketing practices of baby food companies in India.

In the India Index, all companies are given two separate scores and ranks – one for the Corporate Profile and one for the Product Profile. As in the Global Index, the Corporate Profile scores of Nestle India and Amul have been adjusted based on their scores in the BMS assessment. The maximum adjustment is -0.75.

The Corporate Profile methodology assessed companies in India against international and national guidelines, norms and accepted good practices. Suggestions from extensive stakeholder consultations held in India between 2013 and 2016 strengthened the methodology and helped adapt it to the Indian context. Company assessments for the 2016 Spotlight Index were conducted by the global responsible investment research firm Sustainalytics, a leading global environmental, social and governance research and ratings firm. It combines publicly available company information with its own analysis and information provided by the companies.

ATNF commissioned The George Institute for Global Health, based in Sydney, Australia, with offices and extensive experience working in India, to undertake the Product Profile research, assessing the nutritional quality of products sold by the ten Index companies.

The BMS marketing assessment was carried out by specialist research organization Westat, based in Rockville, Maryland (U.S.), working closely with The Centre For Media Studies (CMS) Research House, based in New Delhi, which undertook the in-country data collection.

How can some companies with unhealthy product portfolios still score relatively well on the Corporate Profile of ATNI?

ATNI evaluates the contribution all companies are making to improving consumers’ access to nutrition. This is determined both by efforts that companies have undertaken to improve the nutritional quality of their product portfolios and the efforts they make in many other aspects of their businesses, such as how they support consumers in understanding what comprises a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle, how they label their products, how they present their products in marketing materials, offering a wide choice of products in varying sizes, and how they engage with governments and policymakers. Thus, if a company with a seemingly less healthy portfolio receives a higher overall score on the Corporate Profile, it is due to strong performance in other categories evaluated by the Index.

To provide a more balanced overview of companies’ efforts, the Product Profile assessment has been added to the Corporate Profile assessment.

How can you compare companies with different ownership structures and operating models, e.g. private companies and cooperatives?

Companies compete on an equal footing in the marketplace and face the same pressures and incentives to tackle nutrition issues. Additionally, consumers are generally unaware of companies’ ownership structures and operating models; they simply consume their products. Given these market realities, we believe it is fair to compare these companies’ efforts relative to undernutrition and obesity.

Companies’ ownership structures do determine how much information they are required to publish about their financial performance. If they choose not to voluntarily publish much information about their approach to nutrition, this hampers ATNI’s ability to fully evaluate their efforts, as well as other stakeholders to do the same. 

How can you compare these companies to each other when their product portfolios are so vastly different (e.g. Mother Dairy which makes principally dairy products versus Mondelez that makes principally confectionery)?

ATNI aims to evaluate the contribution companies are making to improving consumers’ access to nutrition. This is done by evaluating their efforts on improving their product portfolio, how they support consumers in understanding what comprises a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle, how they label their products, how they present them in marketing materials, whether they offer a wide choice of products in varying sizes, and how they engage with governments and policymakers. Companies can improve their nutrition-related practices in all of these areas regardless of the composition of their product portfolios.

We are confident that the methodology used provides both a common platform through which to evaluate companies as well as being flexible enough to accommodate different business models and product portfolios. 

Were all companies assessed on all aspects of the methodology?

During the assessment it was found that Ruchi Soya that mainly sells cooking oils could not be assessed on various aspects of the Index (both CP and PP), e.g. marketing to children or NPS, therefore Ruchi has only been assessed on applicable Categories but not been ranked (in the future, also considering its merger with Adani Wilmar, this may change).

Also some companies were not assessed on certain aspects that did not relate to their business: e.g. Coca-Cola was not assessed on the reduction of salt and fats because their products do not contain these ingredients. 

How were companies selected to be on the India Spotlight Index 2016?

The 2016 India Spotlight Index ranked 10 of India’s largest food and non-alcoholic beverage manufacturers, including companies that are publicly listed, privately owned or cooperatives. These companies were selected based on their Indian revenues in FY2014 (using Euromonitor data). Together these companies account for sales of INR 869,177 million (app. USD 12,782 million USD), around 31% of the total sales of major food and beverage companies in India.¹

Revenues derived from non-food and beverage activities, such as pharmaceuticals were discounted. In addition, several exclusion criteria were applied.

  • Non-added value - companies that produce mostly non-added value products and commodities.
  • Alcohol - companies that mainly produce only alcoholic beverages
  • Bottling - Bottling companies that bottle beverages for other beverage companies.

In addition to the companies that are scored and ranked in the India Spotlight Index, four more companies (Adani Wilmar, Cargill India, ITC and KMF) that manufacture and fortify dairy, oil and wheat products were approached to be interviewed about their fortification activities and efforts to tackle undernutrition. The purpose was to learn more about what these companies were doing to fortify these staples and disseminate that knowledge through this report. These four have not been scored and ranked but throughout the report, references are made to their fortification/undernutrition practices.

Is the India Index methodology different from the Global Index methodology?

The India Spotlight Index is modelled on the Global Access to Nutrition Index, which was initially developed over a three-year period (2010 – 2012) through extensive, multi-stakeholder consultation with companies, governments, international organizations, civil society, academia, and investors. It was guided by advice from an independent, multi-stakeholder advisory panel and a group of international experts on nutrition, including Dr. Pandav and Dr. Yadav from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). The Global Index methodology is based, to the extent possible, on existing (international) standards, guidelines and frameworks, such as those developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), Codex, as well as industry best practices, such as the International Food & Beverage Alliance (IFBA) Responsible Marketing pledge.

The Corporate Profile in the India Spotlight Index largely follows the Global Index, it has however fewer indicators than the Global Index (120 versus over 200) and many indicators have also been simplified. Some India-specific questions have been added, e.g. concerning the use of CSR levy and food safety system certification. Full details on the methodology as well as guiding research principles are published on www. accesstonutrition.org.

As for the Global Index, the India Index has a BMS component – assessing marketing practices of infant food manufacturers and it contains a Product Profile assessment – assessing the nutritional quality of the products of all companies included in the India Index. The latter does not (yet) exist in the Global Index.  

How does ATNI communicate the details about how each company has scored?

Each company has been provided with a summary Scorecard, which is also available on ATNI’s website. A large quantity of material was reviewed for each company, which has been summarized by ATNI in a format that stakeholders can easily understand. We have also published the full assessment methodology on the ATNI website. 

Why should Indian companies try to improve nutrition in India?

Food and beverage (F&B) manufacturers in India have the potential – and the responsibility - to be part of the solution to the double burden. The serious health consequences of poor nutrition lend urgency to the need for India’s F&B manufacturers to proactively adopt impactful initiatives to improve the nutritional quality of their products, as well as other aspects of their businesses, augmented by other non-commercial practices (e.g. how they direct the mandatory Corporate Social Responsibility tax funds). 

Why was the 2016 India Spotlight Index developed?

In India, the double burden of malnutrition poses a serious challenge –the need to tackle both persistent levels of undernutrition at the same time as rising levels of overweight and obesity. Severe undernutrition has been a national problem for generations and remains so today. According to the latest available data from the National Survey undertaken by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2013-14, the prevalence of stunting in children below five years is 39%. This equates to around 48 million children – or two in every five children under the age of five – making India home to the largest number of stunted children in the world. Moreover, among the same population, more than 70% suffer from iron deficiency, 65% are deficient in vitamin A and 45% are zinc deficient.

The gravity of this situation has been greatly compounded in recent years by an alarmingly rapid rise in levels of overweight and obesity in the population. India now ranks third, after the US and China, in terms of the absolute number of obese people. Around 20% of children and adolescents are overweight. These trends, which are predicted to increase substantially, are already causing serious pandemic diseases in the form of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and certain cancers.

By producing an Index tailored to the Indian context, ATNF hopes to contribute to ongoing efforts to address the double burden.

What is the Access to Nutrition Index and the Access to Nutrition Foundation?

The Access to Nutrition Index (ATNI) is published by the Access To Nutrition Foundation (ATNF), an independent non-profit organization based in the Netherlands dedicated to objectively assessing and improving the contribution the private sector makes to addressing global nutrition challenges. The primary objective of ATNF is to publish, on a regular basis, a set of Indexes that assess and rate major F&B manufacturers’ nutrition policies, practices and disclosure. The Index methodology is developed with input from a wide range of global stakeholders including the WHO and other policy makers, academia, civil society organizations, industry and investors. Since its launch in 2013, more than 50 investment firms have become signatories to the ATNI Investor Statement, with nearly  $4 trillion assets under management. The Index is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wellcome Trust and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation.

The first Global Index was launched in 2013 and the second in 2016. It gained a positive response from stakeholders, including F&B manufacturers, NGOs and investors. Following the publication of the first Global Index, ATNF that organizes, designs and publishes the Indexes, conducted research to explore the feasibility of launching Spotlight Indexes to assess companies in markets with a high double burden of malnutrition – India, Mexico and South Africa. The purpose of such Spotlight Indexes was to gather and publish empirical evidence of companies’ performance on nutrition, to strengthen the basis for national dialogue and action to address the double burden.

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

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

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