Food and beverage industry could do more

The world’s largest food and beverage companies still have a long way to go if they are to play their full part in tackling the mounting global nutrition crisis, a new report says.

The Access to Nutrition Index is based on the premise that companies can work alongside governments, international organisations and civil society to address the spiralling ‘double burden’ of undernutrition and obesity.

The 2016 Index places Unilever in first place, ahead of Nestlé and Danone, for their efforts to produce healthier products and ensure affordable pricing.

Mars saw one of the biggest improvements since the last index in 2013, rising from 16th to 5th place.

A separate sub-ranking evaluates the world’s six largest baby food manufacturers against the WHO’s International Marketing Code.

The report concludes that, while some companies have taken positive steps since the last Index, the industry as a whole is moving far too slowly.

“Given the global reach of their products, food and beverage companies have a critical role to play in helping to tackle the growing global health crisis caused by poor nutrition,” said Inge Kauer, Executive Director of the Access to Nutrition Foundation.