Picture: 123RF/KEN WOLTER
Picture: 123RF/KEN WOLTER

Zurich — Nestlé is updating its nutrition and health strategy, including a review of package labelling, nutritional information and portion guidance, as it faces criticism about unhealthy food.

The world’s biggest food company is assessing its food and beverage portfolio against external nutrition profiling systems, such as Health Star Rating and Nutri-Score, that help consumers make more informed choices, it said in an e-mail.

An internal company presentation designates more than 60% of Nestlé’s core food and beverage products as unhealthy, according to the FT. The document, which was circulated among top executives, says some products will never be healthy no matter how much they’re modified, the FT reported on Monday. The analysis excludes categories such as pet food, coffee and infant nutrition, which account for more than half of the company’s revenue.

The Big Food industry, led by multinationals such as Nestlé, PepsiCo and McDonald’s, is under increasing pressure from consumers and governments to make healthier products as cases of obesity and diabetes soar. Global obesity has almost tripled since 1975, according to the World Health Organisation.

Under CEO Mark Schneider Nestlé has shifted its focus to acquiring nutritional supplements and vitamins, as well as expanding its coffee and plant-based businesses. The Swiss firm has sold its US confectionery unit and put its ice-cream business there into a joint venture. It has also also sold its Yinlu peanut milk and rice porridge businesses in China and 60% of the European meat-processing brand Herta. 

The report's findings weren’t surprising, but could point to even more portfolio changes,  according to Jon Cox, an analyst at Kepler Cheuvreux. “We have long argued that mainstream confectionery is not a particularly attractive category, given structural pressures,” Cox said.

Schneider has said that indulgent food has a place in a healthy diet, as long as it’s consumed in moderation.

Bloomberg News. More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

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