In a Nestlé presentation seen by the Financial Times, the company admits that almost 70% of its foods and beverages do not meet health standards due to high sodium, sugar, salt content, and other chemicals.
To define or measure whether a food is healthy or unhealthy, metrics established by nutritionist organizations such as the Access to Nutrition Foundation (A) are used, which awards from one to five stars with five being the best and one the worst.
According to the Access to Nutrition Foundation’s website, its mission is to “provide companies, their investors and other stakeholders with a rating of the world’s largest food and beverage manufacturers in contributing to addressing obesity, diet-related chronic diseases and undernutrition.”
Nestlé admitted that only 37% of its food products achieve a score of 3.5, which is considered a ‘recognized definition of health’ and stated that “some of our categories and products will never be ‘healthy’ no matter how much we renovate.”
According to the presentation, about 70% of Nestlé’s food products do not meet that 3.5 threshold: of its beverages excluding pure coffee, 96% are unhealthy, and 99% of its Nestlé confectionery and ice cream products are also unhealthy by international standards.
Water and dairy products scored better: 82% of waters and 60% of dairy products achieved 3.5 points.
Nestlé is one of the world’s largest food and beverage producers, its best-known products include Nesquik, Kit Kat chocolates, and Maggi instant noodles.
In the presentation, the company complained that legal regulations and consumer pressure are very demanding and admit that its wide range of foods will not be able to meet the requirements.
“We have made significant improvements to our products… [but] our portfolio still underperforms against external definitions of health in a landscape where regulatory pressure and consumer demands are skyrocketing,” the document stated.
The document highlights some of Nestlé’s foods, such as the four-meat pizza with croissant dough, DiGiorno, which contains 40% of the sodium recommended to be consumed, and the pepperoni pizza, Hot Pockets, which contains up to 48% of the sodium recommended daily for a person.
In addition, children’s products such as flavored Nesquik, described as ‘perfect at breakfast to get kids ready for the day,’ contains 14 grams of sugar in a 14-gram scoop, along with colorings and flavorings.
Outside these metrics are formula milk, pet food, coffee, and products from the health sciences division that manufacture foods specially designed for people with certain conditions.
Interestingly, Nestlé CEO Mark Schneider denied that processed food is less healthy, contrary to the claims of many nutrition organizations.
According to the Laborers’ Health and Safety Fund of North America, the more processed foods, such as crackers, jarred pasta sauces, and cake mixes, are of greatest concern because they have been chemically altered with artificial flavors, additives, and other ingredients.
It is estimated that more than half of the calories in the average American diet come from ultra-processed foods.