To assess and improve the nutritional value of our products, we use the Nestlé Nutritional Profiling System (pdf, 882 Kb), which is based on dietary intake recommendations issued by authorities such as the World Health Organization.
Nestlé Nutritional Profiling System
We’ve progressively applied the system to Nestlé products worldwide since 2004. Under it foods are divided into 32 categories, and there are ‘nutrient targets’ for a serving of each, based on age-related dietary guidelines.
The system limits specific nutrients – sugars, salt and fats – in each category, but encourages other healthy nutrients. A recent peer-reviewed scientific study concluded that Nestlé had used the system successfully to produce more nutritious products.
As part of our commitment to constantly improve the nutrient profile of Nestlé products, we have been reducing the sugar content for many years. Between 2000 and 2010, we reduced the overall sugar content of our products by 34%. This figure is based on the total volume of sugar that we purchased and our overall sales volume over this 10 year period.
In 2007 we introduced a mandatory policy to make ongoing reductions in the level of sugar, especially in products that make a significant contribution to consumers’ total dietary sugar intake. This includes complete meals, snacks and drinks, as well as products intended primarily for children, such as breakfast cereals.
We make limited use of sweeteners to reduce sugar and to provide a sweet taste, for example in beverages, without compromising product quality, regulatory compliance or consumer preferences.
Sodium is a component of many elements found in the food we eat. The primary source of sodium in our diet is salt. Epidemiological studies have linked excessive sodium (or salt) consumption with high blood pressure, and there is scientific evidence at the population level that lowering blood pressure by reducing sodium (or salt) intake can reduce the risk of premature death due to cardiovascular disease and stroke, as well as kidney disease.
We are committed to continually improving the nutritional profile of our products
In 2005, as part of our commitment to constantly improving foods for health reasons, Nestlé introduced a policy to significantly reduce the salt content of its products. By the end of 2007 we had reduced the level of salt in higher-salt products by 10%. By the end of 2010, we had made further reductions to bring the salt level down to 75% of the amount in the original recipes. In total, we have reduced the use of salt across our product portfolio by more than 12,000 metric tonnes in the last 10 years.
We remain committed to not increase the level of salt in our products above the current values, and to reduce levels wherever we can.
Trans-Fatty Acids (TFA)
Since 1999, our policy has been that when consumed as part of a normal diet, the level of TFA in our products should not exceed 3% of the total fat in foods, or 1% of the daily total energy intake (as recommended by the World Health Organization). We are particularly determined to reduce the levels of TFA in products consumed by children and in products that contain high levels of TFA, such as soups, snacks, pizzas, and ready-made meals.
TFA occur naturally in milk fat and it is still controversial whether they have the same effects as TFA from vegetable oils. Thus milk fat is exempted from the policy. To meet varying nutritional needs, Nestlé offers non-fat, low-fat and full-cream milk products.
Our policy is to reduce levels of saturated fatty acids wherever possible and not to increase the amount above existing levels elsewhere. We support scientific advances in the area of dietary saturated fatty acid levels and their effects on health.
Nestlé offers the choice of organic products alongside its normal range in some countries, provided this makes commercial sense and is technically feasible.
In many countries, all health claims must be registered and approved by the local authorities before being placed on the market. In other countries (such as the USA and the European Union), these regulatory approval processes are targeted to specific categories of food products, in particular when they are novel or claim health benefits. We believe that all claims should be based on science, and welcome regulations that help to protect health and safety.