With obesity on the rise around the world – especially among children and adolescents – it’s clear that strong measures need to be put in place to combat it. The severity of the situation is evidenced by a WHO study that shows the number of obese children globally has gone from 11 million to 124 million in less than 41 years.
And so, on the United Nations International Day of Families, Nestlé announced its global “Nestlé for Healthier Kids” initiative, which aims at helping 50 million children lead healthier lives by 2030.
With this new initiative, Nestlé is accelerating the transformation of its food and beverage portfolio worldwide. In 2017 alone, the company launched more than 1,000 new products to meet the nutritional needs of children and provided 174 billion servings of fortified foods and beverages in 66 countries where people lack essential micronutrients such as iron, iodine and vitamin A.
Mark Schneider, Nestlé CEO, says in a statement: “Childhood is a time where life-long habits are formed. We want to help parents make healthier choices for their children. This is why we are accelerating our efforts to support families in raising healthier kids and we call on others to join us in this endeavor.”
The global initiative will be implemented in the Middle East through various channels such as child nutrition research and collaboration with governments, academia, and other entities on developing and implementing school nutrition education programs, explains Yves Manghardt, Nestlé Middle East Chairman and CEO. “We have also reached more than 700,000 people across the Middle East through our community programs. These include social media education, and on-ground activities such as the Adopt a Fruit/Adopt a Vegetable campaign. Another example is our TummyFish mobile App, encouraging children to choose water, which has been downloaded over 200,000 times,” he says.
One of Nestlé Middle East’s key published commitments to society is to “Further provide nutritionally sound products designed for children,” which has translated since 2015 in the launch of three products per year specifically designed for kids.
Nestlé already reformulates around one-third of its product portfolio every year and will use its capabilities to further enhance foods and beverages for children with more fruits, vegetables, fiber-rich grains and micronutrients. The company will also continue to reduce sugars, salt and saturated fats.
By 2020 the company will:
– Add at least 750 million portions (80g) of vegetables to its products;
– Add at least 300 million portions (16g) of fiber-rich grains, pulses, nuts & seeds to its products;
– Further reduce added sugars by 5%. Since 2000, the company has reduced sugars by over 34%;
– Further reduce salt by 10%. Since 2005, the company has reduced salt by over 17,200 tons;
– Complete the commitment taken in 2014, to reduce saturated fats by 10% in all relevant products that do not meet WHO recommendations.
In the Middle East, it will:
– Further leverage nutrition insights and continue to launch three new nutritionally sound products every year to help fulfill healthy eating occasions during the day.
– Increasing from 8 billion to 8.7 billion the number of fortified food servings provided every year.