How healthy are Nestlé foods and beverages?

Recently, several media stories have questioned the healthfulness of Nestlé foods and beverages. We believe that our wide portfolio positively contributes to the health and wellness of the communities we serve.

Malnutrition, in all its forms (both over- and under-nutrition) is a serious global challenge, with multiple causes. A lot more remains to be done to address this issue. We believe that the scale and reach of our company allows us to offer a meaningful contribution and promote positive change.

Nestlé is working on a company-wide project to update its pioneering nutrition and health strategy.

We are looking at our entire portfolio across the different phases of people's lives to ensure our products are helping meet their nutritional needs and supporting a balanced diet.

Our efforts build on a strong foundation of work over decades to improve the nutritional footprint of our products. For example, we have reduced the sugars and sodium in our products significantly in the past two decades, about 14-15% in the past 7 years alone.

In recent years, we have launched thousands of products for kids and families that meet external nutrition yardsticks. We have also distributed billions of micronutrient doses via our affordable and nutritious products.

As we consider our future nutrition strategy, we are first focusing on assessing the part our food and beverage portfolio that can be measured against external nutrition profiling systems. Systems like the Health Star Rating and Nutri-Score are useful in this regard and enable consumers to make informed choices. However, they don't capture everything. About half of our sales are not covered by these systems. That includes categories such as infant nutrition, specialized health products and pet food, which follow regulated nutrition standards.

We believe that a healthy diet means finding a balance between well-being and enjoyment. This includes having some space for 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.

What are you doing to improve the nutritional value of your products?

We are adding ingredients like whole grain, protein, fibers and micronutrients, as well as reducing sugars, sodium and saturated fat in our existing products. Since 2017 we have launched over 4 000 nutritious products that help give children and families better choices. Also as of 2017, we have achieved a 4.5% reduction in sugar, a 3.8% reduction in sodium, and met the 10% reduction target in saturated fat levels set in 2014.

We are working to simplify ingredient lists in order to make it easier for consumers to understand the content of their food and make better informed choices. In regions where local diets are found to be lacking, we provide foods and beverages fortified with key micronutrients, such as iron, iodine, vitamin A, and zinc.

Furthermore, we are increasing our offerings of plant-based foods and beverages.

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.

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 organizations, governments, and other stakeholders.

We want to inspire people to eat a balanced diet and live healthier lives. In 2020, we reached over 33 million children through Nestlé for Healthier Kids.

How do Nestlé products rank on external nutrition profiling systems?

Systems like the Health Star Rating and Nutri-Score are helpful as they allow consumers to make informed choices by identifying the healthiest option within a product category. They are also an incentive to make food healthier by offering clear standards. At Nestlé, we started our reformulation journey more than 20 years ago, decreasing sugars, sodium, and saturated fat in food, and adding ingredients like whole grain, proteins, fibers, and micronutrients. Our direction of travel has not changed and is clear: we will continue to make our portfolio tastier and healthier.


Find out more