On 16 September 2017, the New York Times published an article titled 'How Big Business Got Brazil Hooked on Junk Food'. We are disappointed that the article provided a misleading impression of how Nestlé is conducting business around the world as well as the nature of our portfolio. We believe our wide portfolio positively contributes to the health and wellness of the communities we serve.
We know malnutrition, in all its forms (both over and under nutrition) is a serious global challenge, with multiple causes. There is still more to do. The scale and reach of our company allows us to offer a meaningful contribution and accelerate positive change.
What kind of foods and beverages does Nestlé sell in Brazil?
We sell a wide range of products, including wholegrain cereals, low-fat yogurts and fortified products like Mucilon. These and other products are enriched with vitamin A, iron and zinc – the three major nutritional deficiencies in Brazil.
We also have more indulgent products, which we intend for individuals and families to enjoy as occasional treats.
What are you doing to improve the nutritional value of your products?
In Brazil, we continue to improve the nutritional value of our foods and beverages to support good health, while reducing ingredients like sugar and salt.
In the last 3 years, we have removed more than 300 tons of sodium, 5 000 tons of saturated fats and 14 000 tons of sugar from the products we sell in the country.
For example we have reduced sugar in our yogurts by 23% while increasing the level of protein and real fruits. Whole grain is the first ingredient listed across our cereal portfolio.
Powdered and liquid milk brands such as Ninho (Nido) , are fortified to address vitamin and mineral deficiencies in the diets of Brazilian children (vitamins A, C, D, calcium, iron and zinc).
In our best-selling biscuit brand Passatempo, sugar has been reduced by 15%, total fat reduced by 23% and saturated fat by 51%. At the same time, we have been increasing essential nutrients such as calcium and zinc.
How does Nestlé’s distribution model in Brazil work?
The door-to-door distribution and sales model used in Brazil is a traditional approach to getting foods and beverages to more remote areas of the country.
The products Nestlé offers via this sales model are treated in the same way the rest of the Nestlé portfolio is managed, that is, with a health and wellness lens.
The vast majority of what is sold off a typical cart is dairy-based yogurt, milk and biscuits. These categories feature strong work in sugar and fat reduction.
We currently have 200 micro-distributors and 7 000 saleswomen across Brazil, selling fortified Nestlé products to around 700 000 lower income consumers each month.
This means these areas are not only benefiting from new income, but also from increased access to products enriched with vitamin A, iron and zinc – the three major nutritional deficiencies in Brazil.
What is Nestlé doing to restrict its marketing of products high in salt, sugar and fat to children?
Nestlé follows strict standards regarding advertising and marketing to children. Nestlé does not advertise to children under six years of age.
Recently we strengthened our Policy on Marketing Communication to Children (pdf, 5Mb). We introduced stricter nutritional criteria for foods and beverages marketed to children age six through 12 (e.g. we do not market confectionery, biscuits or ice cream to children).
We ensure foods and beverages sold in schools meet strict nutrition criteria.
We also abide by external marketing pledges including International Food and Beverage Alliance (IFBA) commitments, the EU Pledge, and local pledges.
In Brazil, in 2009 Nestlé pledged to 'Responsible Marketing to Children', a policy that was updated in 2016 to establish common nutrition criteria, based on the EU Pledge 'Nutrition Criteria', and a monitoring process by an independent auditor.
What is Nestlé doing to tackle obesity?
Obesity is a serious global challenge, and for more than a decade Nestlé has taken serious action to tackle the problem and contribute to solutions – working with public health organisations, governments and other stakeholders.
We want to inspire people, especially children, to eat a balanced diet and live healthier lives.
In Brazil, Nutrir has already reached 3 million children since 1999. It is part of the Nestlé Healthy Kids Global Programme, located in 80 countries, which raises nutrition and health knowledge and promotes physical activity among school-age children around the world.
When you market foods in Brazil and other developing economies, you say your aim is to improve people’s dietary habits. Does this make a positive contribution to society?
Nestlé cares deeply about local food traditions, brands, cooking practices and culinary heritage. Some of our most popular brands in a market are the local ‘family’ brands that Nestlé has been fortunate enough to acquire and call part of our global portfolio.
A brand like Maggi is a very good example of how culinary seasoning can support cooking skills and local recipes, encourage the consumption of local vegetables and protein and deliver important nutrients that otherwise might not be consumed.
From Brazil to Germany, India and beyond, Maggi is part of the fabric of many local culinary traditions.
Many food categories like yogurts, milk, cereals and coffee and even confectionary and ice cream, all found in Brazil, are a compliment to a total diet, and these foods certainly do not replace traditional food customs and traditions.
Read more about what we are doing to improve our products
Still have a question? Please get in touch