Enhancing the nutritional value of Nestlé products in Central and West Africa

Oct 16, 2014

Nestlé is continuing to invest in the innovation and renovation of its large portfolio of products to boost nutritional value, while improving taste in Central and West Africa and worldwide.

Nestlé’s work in nutrition highlights the significance of World Food Day on October 16. One of the objectives of the event, which is organised by the Food and Agriculture Organization, is to heighten public awareness of the problem of hunger in the world.


To analyse the nutritional value of its products, the world’s leading Nutrition, Health and Wellness company has established a rigorous methodology based on recommendations issued by authorities such as the World Health Organization (WHO).


This dynamic approach is called the ‘Nestlé Nutritional Profiling System’.


Nutritional role

Launched in 2004, it works by profiling each individual food and beverage product that is measured against specific criteria.

It is regularly reviewed by nutrition experts and product specialists to combine the latest thinking and developments in Nutrition, Health and Wellness.

The criteria for each product are based on four principles of assessment:

The first is a consideration of the product category and its role in the overall diet of consumers. It recognises that the nutritional requirements are different for children and adults, so a product for children will have a different set of daily reference values compared to a product for adults.

The second consideration is the specific nutritional factors relevant to public health and essential nutritional contributions. For each of its product categories, Nestlé has established criteria for: energy in calories, sodium, added sugars, fructose, trans fatty acids, and saturated fatty acids.

Next it considers maximum and minimum non-compensatory, rigorous thresholds. Here, for categories where nutritional factors may be consumed in excessive quantities such as fat in biscuits, limits and thresholds are established and cannot go beyond these.

Finally, the last consideration is the serving as consumed and reference values specific to children and adults, where products are assessed per serving, as it would be eaten.

These criteria are established using recommendations for dietary intakes issued by the WHO, and published by the US Institute of Medicine.

In countries where different legal values for labelling might be enforced by local authorities, the criteria used for product assessment are determined by those countries’ values.

Nutritional Foundation

Every product that achieves the Nestlé Nutritional Profiling System criteria attains the Nestlé Nutritional Foundation (NF) status. This means that it represents an appropriate choice for a child or adult in a balanced diet.

At the end of 2013, 95 per cent of Nestlé’s products sold in Central and West Africa was assessed and met all of its NF criteria in providing nutritionally sound products for children, based on international public health recommendations such as the WHO and Institute of Medicine. This included the criteria for salt, sugars and saturated fats.

No compromise

As consumers in Central and West Africa and worldwide look for healthier foods that do not compromise on taste, Nestlé reviews its product range to improve taste while enhancing nutritional value using a test called ‘60/40+’.

The company ensures that all products meet rigorous standards for nutrition and consumer preference.

It is doing this by testing products through consumer panels where at least 60 out of 100 people must prefer the Nestlé product against the competitor’s. The ‘+’ refers to the added nutritional benefit in the product.

This programme was, for instance, applied when the Maggi bouillon cubes sold in Central and West Africa were renovated in order to be iron-fortified.

‘60/40+’ is helpful because, while the objective is to improve the health benefits of a food or beverage product, altering the taste may mean that consumers stop purchasing the product.

Improving nutritional value

In addition, to help improve the nutritional value and yield of the raw materials used in its products in Central and West Africa and across the globe, Nestlé has partnered with research institutions and farmers. The objective is to develop different crop varieties to produce high-yielding, nutritious crops. For example, it has started to evaluate a variety of cassava, which is rich in vitamin A.

These activities are all part of Nestlé’s commitment to help people eat a healthier diet. “We don’t compromise on taste or health. We believe that by providing tastier and healthier foods and beverages that people will want to eat, we can make a contribution to healthier lives”, said Kais Marzouki, the Market Head of Nestlé Central and West Africa. “In our Region, 75 million of Maggi units are consumed daily. This is why we have fortified this product in iron to fight anemia”, he added.

This is part of Nestlé’s approach to business, called ‘Creating Shared Value’, which means systematically taking actions that produce value for the business and directly benefit consumers, employees and suppliers, their families and their communities.

Key figures:

  • More than 75 million Maggi units are consumed in Central and West Africa every day
  • Around 300 million cups of Milo were drunk in 2013
  • Approximately 280 million bowls of Golden Morn, our all family cereals, were consumed in 2013
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