A fresh controversy erupted after Nestle's leaked internal document suggested that 60 percent of its mainstream product portfolio is "unhealthy".
Nestlé found itself in yet another controversy as an internal document from the company found its way to the public eye. The leaked document suggested that 60 percent of Nestlé's mainstream food product portfolio is "unhealthy".
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The Swiss food and drink processing conglomerate Nestlé SA has reportedly admitted that a majority of its mainstream products fail to meet a "recognised definition of health" and nutrition.
What's the controversy?
In the leaked internal report, Nestlé, the world's largest packaged food and beverages company, acknowledged that more than 60 percent of food items and beverages in its mainstream portfolio don’t meet the required health standards.
According to the Financial Times, the leaked report was an internal presentation circulated among the company’s top executives in early 2021. The document added that only 37 percent of Nestle’s food products could achieve a rating above 3.5 under Australia’s health star rating system.
The report further states that 99 percent of Nestle’s confectionery and ice cream portfolio failed to meet health standards. Besides, 96 percent of its beverages, excluding pure coffee, failed to meet health criteria.
The data, however, does not include pet food, baby food, and the health science division.
The food giant has said that it has reduced sugars and sodium in its product by about 14-15 percent in the past seven years. The company added that it is working on a 'company-wide project' to update its nutrition and health strategy.
In an official statement, Nestlé said, "We believe that a healthy diet means finding a balance between wellbeing and enjoyment. This includes having space for some indulgent foods, consumed in moderation. Our direction of travel has not changed and is clear: We will continue to make our portfolio tastier and healthier," it stated.
A report by news agency PTI quoted a Nestle India spokesperson as saying, "Nestle India believes that nutrition is a fundamental need and the food industry has a vital role to play in enabling healthier lives. Driven by our purpose, we are constantly striving to increase the nutrient profile of our products, as well as innovate with new and nutritious offerings."
Nestlé's past controversies
Nestlé has been involved in numerous controversies concerning its food products in the past. In the 1970s, the company was accused of aggressively promoting breast milk formula to mothers in low-economically developed countries which resulted in infant illness and death.
More recently, the company's Maggi instant noodles product was under scrutiny after food safety officials found elevated levels of Monosodium glutamate (MSG) and dangerously high levels of lead in it.
Apart from the controversies involving its food portfolio, the company has also faced criticism for its business practices. From exhausting natural water supply to bottling water, to ecological devastation, use of bonded labour and economic malpractices, the multinational food product giant has been accused of several violations.
Notably, the most popular products of Nestlé in India include Maggi noodles, KitKat chocolate and Nescafé coffee.
(Edited by : Kanishka Sarkar)
First Published: Jun 2, 2021 3:31 PM IST
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