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News Article

Nestlé Products Struggle to Achieve a Healthy Status

By María Fernanda Barría | Fri, 06/04/2021 - 15:51

Nestlé, one of the largest food companies in the world with more than 2000 brands, recently recognized that more than 60 percent of its drinks and food products do not meet recognized standards of healthy foods. The company acknowledges that some of its products will never be healthy no matter how much these products renovate. 

The document that the Financial Times had access to mentions that the company reports they have improved their products, despite their portfolio underperforming under the category of what health should be. The company was examined under Australia's Health Star Rating system.

Only 37 percent of Nestlé's food and beverages by revenues achieved a score over 3.5 under the rating system. The Australian system rates the overall nutritional profile of packaged food and assigns it a rating from half a star to 5 stars and it allows people to make better health choices since now customers do not have to read food labels. According to the Health Star Rating website, the more stars a product has, the healthier the food product is.

The score obtained by the food company alarms the health industry, especially with health issues such as diabetes and obesity rates. As previously reported by Miriam Bello on MBN, Type 2 diabetes in Mexico became a healthcare burden in 2000 when it became the primary cause of death among women and the secondary cause of death among men. Obesity, sedentarism, eating habits, genetics, family background and age are among the factors that lead to developing diabetes and other health issues.

In 2016, Mexico registered the highest mortality rates among men and women and from that year on, the numbers continued to grow.  Carlos López Patán, Director General of Medix, a Mexican company specializing in the treatment of overweight and obese patients, recently stated to MBN that "there is a wide availability of low-price products with high levels of sugars and calories. People are choosing to buy unhealthy food items over healthier meals, such as salads. For this reason, it is so important to understand someone's socio-economic profile and their location when creating a plan to fight obesity."

Moreover, the Mexican government decided to implement a food labeling program denominated NOM-051 aiming to educate consumers about the packaged foods they consume, focusing on high sugars, calories, sodium and fat. Despite these efforts, analysts agree that more work needs to be done to convey the healthy eating messages.  Agustin Azcatl Romero, Patent Division Partner of Ortiz & Ramirez Abogados and expert contributor of MBN, explains that "there is a huge challenge for the food industry to communicate with its customers, given the limitations set out in the NOM-051. How to improve their products either by modifying their formulations to achieve seal reduction and warning legends or if they can be eliminated."


 

María Fernanda Barría María Fernanda Barría Junior Journalist and Industry Analyst