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Food companies’ nutrition records under scrutiny
A study of the world’s largest food and drinks companies finds that the industry is falling short on nutrition-related commitments, performance and disclosure. Danone, Unilever and Nestlé came out on top of the Access to Nutrition Index, but their score of 6.3 out of 10 leaves considerable room for improvement. Danone and Nestlé both face accusations violating the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes, for instance.
Among the recommendations of the report were clearer and more measurable targets to improve nutrition, as well as increased public disclosure of nutrition activities. The survey of 25 companies, which was financed by the Gates Foundation among others, will be published every two years. More than three dozen investor groups currently support the index, representing more than $2.6tn of assets under management.
The report echoes findings of research by anti-poverty group Oxfam. Its Behind the Brands report makes the point that 1.4 billion people are overweight, while 900 million suffer malnutrition. It also highlights the purchase of land for agricultural export. Since 2000, Oxfam has counted more than 900 large-scale land deals, the “vast majority” of which took place in 32 countries with “alarming” or “serious” levels of hunger. Three-fifths of...