Report reveals nutrition practices of top 25 food, beverage companies

March 13, 2013

The world’s largest food and beverage manufacturers must do more to increase access to nutritious products and positively exercise their influence on consumer choice and behavior, according to the first edition of the global Access to Nutrition Index (ATNI) report and rankings.

The report assesses the nutrition-related commitments, performance, and disclosure practices of 25 of the world’s largest food and beverage manufacturers as measured against international guidelines, norms, and accepted best practices.

Danone, Unilever, and Nestlé are the top performers on the ATNI, receiving the highest scores on both the obesity and undernutrition rankings. But even the top performers have significant room for improvement with the highest score being 6.3 on a 10 point scale.

The three-year initiative was funded by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Wellcome Trust. Development of ATNI was housed at GAIN and involved a multi-stakeholder process that included input from governments, international organizations, civil society, academia, and investors at every phase of the process. It was also guided by advice from an independent, multi-stakeholder advisory panel and a group of experts on nutrition. Company research and assessments were conducted by MSCI ESG Research using publicly available documents supplemented by additional information requested from each company.

ATNI evaluated companies on:

  • Corporate strategy, management and governance related to nutrition
  • Formulation and delivery of appropriate, affordable, and accessible products
  • Positive influence on consumer choice and behavior

“The Access to Nutrition Index offers companies a comprehensive, independent assessment of how well their practices align with competitors in the food and beverage industry and provides benchmarks against which they can improve their approach to nutrition,” said Keith Bezanson, Chair of the ATNI Independent Advisory Panel. “The aim is to promote a more objective public debate and encourage companies to do more to address nutritional needs of customers.”

Key findings from the ATNI report include:

  • The highest scoring companies have clear commitments, detailed policies, and measurable targets related to nutrition. They have also charged senior executives with achieving these targets and provided incentives for them to do so.
  • Companies’ practices often do not measure up to their commitments. Companies are missing key opportunities to implement their commitments in core business areas such as product formulation, marketing, and distribution.
  • Companies are not meaningfully engaged in addressing undernutrition and could better leverage their expertise, skills, and scale to help combat this global health challenge.

Press release

Report (pdf)