Food firms making ‘good start’ to boosting healthier diets

By Laurence Gibbons contact

- Last updated on GMT

The food industry has helped communicate healthier diets and wellness to consumers
The food industry has helped communicate healthier diets and wellness to consumers

Related tags: Nutrition

The food and drink industry has made a “good start” in helping consumers adopt healthier lifestyles, according to the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF).

Food and drink manufacturers developed or adapted a whopping 22,500 new products throughout 2014 to support healthier diets, according to survey for CGF.

The survey of 29 food and drink manufacturers, 26 retailers and eight personal care product firms also revealed 91M consumers were reached through education programmes to help them make more informed food choices last year.

The organisation is a global network of 400 retailers, manufacturers and service providers.

‘Significant improvement’

Peter Freedman, md of the CGF, said the industry had made a significant improvement throughout 2014.

“Retailers and manufacturers have made a good start in helping consumers live healthier lives,” he said.

“But the scale of the challenge facing humanity keeps getting bigger. The CGF is uniquely positioned to help our members rise to that challenge by working collaboratively together and helping drive positive actions globally.”

The food and drink industry has also partnered with 47,000 school communities to inform children about healthier diets and lifestyles, the report claimed.

Worldwide health facts

  • Worldwide obesity has nearly doubled since 1980
  • Half of the world is expected to be obese by 2050
  • More than 36M people die annually from non-communicable diseases

    Source: Consumer Goods Forum

The CGF is committed to making company policies on nutrition and product formulation public and implementing employee health and wellness programmes by 2016.

By 2018, it wants to agree industry-wide and consistent product labelling and consumer information.

It also wants to see a ban on targeted advertising to children under 12 for products that do not fulfil specific nutrition criteria.  

More than two-thirds of respondents to the survey claimed to have made “significant progress” with three of the four commitments.

Respondents to the survey included Pepsico, Unilever, Mondelēz, Kellogg, Heineken, Mars, McCain and Ferrero.

Resolutions

The CGF’s resolutions include providing consumers with choices and information that help them make decisions for a healthy life; encouraging a culture of disease prevention, promoting active, healthy living for all and engaging with other stakeholders to accelerate and increase the positive impact of its efforts.

It is also committed to monitoring and learning from efforts and reporting on any progress made.

Almost all (95%) of its members surveyed have established policies and 97% have activated policies on at least one of the resolutions, the survey found.

A further 78% have already communicated publicly about at least one of the resolutions.

A steering group – led by CGF’s members including Nestlé, Coca-Cola and Tesco – is also in place to support the pledges.

The CGF has also established an external scientific advisory council on health and wellness to provide science and guidance on its programmes, and help sharpen its actions.

Related topics: Obesity

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