Global Access to Nutrition Index 2021 calls on food industry to urgently close nutrition gaps in COVID-19 era

UTRECHT, Netherlands – (COMMERCIAL THREAD) –Access to Nutrition Initiative (ATNI) launched its Global Index 2021, assessing the world’s 25 largest food and drink manufacturers and their contributions to the fight against malnutrition. While some companies have shown significant progress since its last iteration in 2018, the progress of the top 10 manufacturers in the ranking has slowed. ATNI urgently calls on companies to step up efforts to tackle some of the world’s most difficult nutritional challenges.

Malnutrition in all its forms affects all countries of the world, contributing to millions of deaths and those at risk for food-related illnesses. In 2019, 690 million people (8.9% of the world’s population) were considered undernourished, and with the economic effects of COVID-19, we are seeing even more people living in extreme poverty and the consequences of overweight and food-related illnesses.

FCDO Minister of European Neighborhood and the Americas, Wendy Morton mentionned: “We welcome the launch of this year’s index, especially as COVID-19 has worsened levels of malnutrition and food availability around the world. We have a unique opportunity to approach this problem in a way that benefits everyone. We must hold the world’s largest agribusinesses to account to help accelerate our global recovery from the pandemic. “

Inge Kauer, Executive Director of ATNI, added: As the 25 largest food and beverage manufacturers, each must take responsibility for bringing healthy products to consumers around the world and not leaving nutrition behind. It is no small task, but it is a task that requires urgent action if we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals to end world hunger and ensure good health and well-being.

Highlights and Rankings

All companies were assessed on their commitments, practices and disclosure – with respect to governance and management, the production and distribution of healthy, affordable and accessible products, and how companies influence choices and consumer behavior.

  • The average rating remained the same as 2018: 3.3 / 10.
    • Nestle led the 2021 rankings with a score of 6.7. The company reached the top 3 in all categories and ranked first on “Governance” and “Engagement”.
    • Unilever came second with 6.3 and FriezeCampina third with 5.9.
    • Arla showed a strong improvement from 3.3 in 2018 to 5.1 in 2021, largely due to a new labeling policy, responsible marketing policies and an improvement in the safety of its product portfolio .
    • Meiji gained four places, in part thanks to the integration of a nutritional strategy into its CSR vision and new policies for marketing to children and labeling.
  • Only 31% of products met the independent sanitary standard (a health rating of 3.5 stars or higher). This equates to 11,797 of the 38,176 separate products sold by the 25 companies worldwide
    • Only five companies found half or more of their products to meet the healthy 3.5-star threshold

    • Nine companies improved the average HSR of their products between 2018 and 2021.

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