Eighty-three companies participate in the Consumer Goods Forum's health initiatives.

PARIS — In 2017, 88% of companies introduced or reformulated products to support consumer health, according to the “Health & Wellness Progress Report” by the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF). The annual report detailed how food companies, such as General Mills, Inc., Grupo Bimbo S.A.B. de C.V., Nestle S.A. and more, are making changes to products and workplaces to support healthier lifestyles.

CGF reported steady progress from the 83 participating companies, with 47% being food and beverage manufacturers. 

CGF reported progress on its commitment fulfillment rates that cover formulating, labelling and employee health and wellness and marketing goals. For “Commitment A: Make company policies public on nutrition and product formulation,” 61% of participants had complied. The group noted that 34,000 food and beverage products from 30 companies were reformulated to decrease the inclusion of sugar, sodium, saturated fat or trans-fat.

Fifty-eight per cent of respondents had reported to adhering to Commitment D that requires companies to quit marketing food and beverages that do not fulfill specific nutrition criteria to children under the age of 12. According to the report, of the companies that did not comply, nearly half said it was because they didn’t know how to start the initiative.

Over the past five years, the group has set forth three resolutions for businesses to achieve: increased access and availability to health and wellness products and services; improved product information and responsible marketing; and increased communication and education about healthier diets and lifestyles.

Eighty-two per cent of companies reported improvement in at least one of the resolution areas, with 55% making progress in all three. When it came to the group’s first resolution, Access and Availability of Products and Services, nearly all (97%) companies said they had created programs that support healthy lifestyles. The second resolution, Product Information and Responsible Marketing, had nearly all of the companies meeting the goal, with 94% reporting that the information they provide to consumers goes beyond local legal requirements in most markets.

The organization also reported that 85% of companies are providing health and wellness programs in local communities that support the development of positive dieting and exercise habits. This improvement aligns with CGF’s Collaboration for Healthier Lives, which promotes programs that help consumers make healthier choices. This initiative has taken place in Colombia, Japan and the United States, and will be rolled-out this year in Costa Rica, Mexico and the United Kingdom.

“Our ambition to empower consumers to lead healthier lives is an important long-term objective that requires sustained effort,” wrote CGF board co-sponsors Mark Schneider, c.e.o. of Nestle S.A and Dick Boer, president and c.e.o. of Ahold Delhaize, in the foreword to the report. “We are helping to improve the health of the communities we serve, but we know that there is so much more we can do together. Building upon our initial 5-year plan from 2013, we now intend to strengthen our leadership in this area for the next five years and beyond.”

Going forward, the CGF said it will track product and retail trends in hopes of better serving consumers health and wellness needs. To read the full report, click here.