Nestlé pledges multi-billion investment into nutritionally-enhanced ranges, including confectionery

Global food group Nestlé has outlined an ambitious programme valued at between CHF 20-25 billion into nutritionally-enhanced ranges, including within confectionery, by the end of the decade, reports Neill Barston.

Among its core plans to offer consumers access to healthier ranges, it is set to heighten policies for responsible marketing of indulgent sweets and snacks products, as well as ensuring portions in these categories are all 100 kilocalories or less.

This includes clear front-of-pack guidance, with the UK set to be among the first locations chosen for its latest drive over the next three years, with confectionery series being singled out for improved intuitive labelling designs.

According to the company, which takes its place speaking at this year’s World Confectionery Conference on 5 October at the Harrogate Convention Centre its move comes amid a desire to reflect its motto of “Good food, Good life,” with helping deliver a balanced diet being seen as core to the success of its overall portfolio of products.

Consequently, its latest initiative applies to Nestlé products with a Health Star Rating (HSR) of 3.5 stars or more together with its specialised nutrition products, including baby foods, vitamin and mineral supplements and medical nutrition.

As the company noted, these already account for close to 60% of the company’s food and beverage sales. The HSR system is a government-endorsed nutrient profiling model used for front-of-pack labelling in some countries and by the Access to Nutrition Index. It also follows a voluntary move to restrict its marketing to children under the age of 16, which came into effect at the beginning of July this year, with few major companies having formally adopted such a framework.

Notably, as Confectionery Production has previously reported, the business has unveiled measures to reduce and replace sugar within its confectionery brands in recent years, though with varying degrees of success. One of its most high-profile efforts was its Wowsome bars, which received a strong marketing campaign, only to be withdrawn not long after their arrival on UK shelves.

More recently this summer, the company released details of an additional sugar-reduction drive, using an enzymatic process, it reduces intrinsic sugar in ingredients such as malt, milk, and fruit juices by up to 30%, with a minimal impact on taste and texture. The sugar-reduced ingredients are then used in recipes for various products. There is no need to add sweeteners or bulking agents to replace the volume of the eliminated sugar.

Significantly, as the company noted, this year it became what is believed to be the first company to report on the nutritional value of its entire global portfolio, using health star ratings.. The 2022 analysis of the nutrition value of its ranges showed that 37% of sales came from products with an HSR of 3.5 or more, meeting the threshold generally considered as more nutritious. An additional 20% of sales came from specialised nutrition products. Products with an HSR of between 1.5 and 3.5 accounted for 22%, and products below an HSR of 1.5 for 21%.

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