Nestlé has committed to be part of the solution in the fight against non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Central and West Africa and worldwide.
NCDs, including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases, are the leading cause of death in virtually all countries across the globe.
The world’s leading nutrition, health and wellness company is playing an active role to improve health by addressing these prevalent issues with a number of commitments on nutrition.
Nestlé has pledged to reduce salt, sugars and saturated fats and remove trans fats originating from partially hydrogenated oils in its products.
These are just a few of its 35 commitments that cover nutrition, water, rural development, environmental sustainability and compliance, which it aims to fulfill by 2020 or earlier. They form part of the Nestléin Society report ‘Creating Shared Value and meeting our commitments 2013’.
By 2016, Nestlé has vowed to reduce salt, sugar and saturated fat content by 10% in products that do not meet the Nestlé Nutritional Foundation criteria, which is based on nutrition science and public health dietary recommendations, such as those of the World Health Organization (WHO) and other global or local authorities.
Last year,it pledged to reduce salt across its brand portfolio to support a WHOsalt target of no more than 5g of salt, per person, per day by 2025. Nestléhas now reformulated over 20+ brands such as Maggi to cut salt in its foods and make them healthier forconsumers.
In Centraland West Africa, Nestlé is already making headway. The company has achieved a 2.69% reduction of salt in its culinary products in 2013, compared to the year before, while fortifying the Maggi tablets in iron.
Nestlé is addressing the problem of NCDs by helping to increase the consumption of whole grains and vegetables, including via healthier home cooking.
In Nigeria, the company has introduced a wider range of its cereal brand Golden Morn, made from locally sourced whole grains.
The new varieties, including Golden Morn Maize,Golden Morn Maize choco and Golden Morn Millet, are packed with essential nutrients such as vitamin A and iron.
Each year,more than 210 million servings are eaten by families in Nigeria, boosting the consumption of whole grains.
Nestlé is also actively meeting its commitment by using the Maggi Cooking Caravans to provide nutrition expertise, culinary hygiene and healthy eating cooking tips to millions of consumers in the region.
Last year,the caravans travelled through Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria educating about 587,000 women sellers through interactive cooking demonstrations, women’s forums, group discussions and presentations on micronutrient fortification.
“After joining the initiative, I’m now able to promote best practices in healthy cooking and gain new customers,” said Saly Koné, a culinary spices vendor in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
Nestlé Healthy Kids
Nestlé has also pledged to promote healthy diets and lifestyles/physical activity.
Through its worldwide nutrition education initiative, the NestléHealthy Kids Global Programme, the company is promoting healthy lifestyles among school-age children.
Nestlé has worked with more than 280 partners to deliver its programme in 68 countries by the end of 2013.
These efforts have increased children’s basic knowledge of the importance of nutrition and exercise, and reached 6.9 million children in 2013 alone. The company aims to further expand the initiative to reach 80 countries by 2015.
This year,the Nestlé Healthy Kids Programme was launched in Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal.
In 2013,it was introduced in Cameroon and has already reached about 1,200 children and 75 teachers in the country.
In Ghana,it benefitted 10,039 children and 240 teachers since it was launched in 2011.
In November this year, the University of Ghana’s Nutrition and Food Science Department released its first monitoring and evaluation results on the programme.
Children that took part in the initiative were able to correctly identify more food groups at 19.2% and food nutrients at 34.2%, compared to those who did not participate (7.8% and. 3.4% respectively).
“The results demonstrate that the programme is effective in improving the overall nutrition knowledge and practice of beneficiary pupils,” said Dr Gloria Otoo, for the Nutrition and Food Science Department at the University of Ghana.
A total of 62,483 children and 807 teachers and monitors in Nigeria have also been impacted by the initiative since 2011.
To strengthen the physical activity side of the initiative, children take part in one physical activity class each week.
Nestlé teamed up with its global partner the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in Nigeria in 2013, and the Athletics Federation of Nigeria.The company has also implemented its Kids Athletics Programme through the Ghana Athletics Association, the local entity that is working with the IAAF.
“We are committed to improving the nutrition of people in Central and West Africa through the foods and beverages we provide and by helping them make informed choices,” said Kais Marzouki, Market Head for Nestlé Central and West Africa.“We believe we can be part of the solution to the nutritional challenges our region faces. We are committed to educate people on healthy lifestyle with amulti-stakeholder approach.”
Nestlé’s effortsto combat non-communicable diseases are part of its approach to business, whichit calls ‘Creating Shared Value’.
The company aims to create value for its shareholders while at the same time creating value for the communities it serves and in which it operates.
Nutrition is one of Nestlé’s three key focus areas, as well as water and rural development.
Nestlé in Society report ‘Creating Shared Value and meeting our commitments 2013’
Nestlé Healthy Kids Global Programme