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First India Access to Nutrition Spotlight Index launched today

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The Access to Nutrition Foundation (ATNF) launched the first India Access to Nutrition Spotlight Index in New Delhi today. The principal finding, following months of in-depth research, is that the largest F&B manufacturers in India are falling far short of what they need to do to help fight the enduring and mounting double burden of malnutrition in India.nutrition-spotlight-index

Commenting on the occasion Inge Kauer, Executive Director of the Access to Nutrition Foundation said “India faces the serious and escalating double burden of malnutrition, with a large undernourished population as well as growing numbers of overweight and obese people who are developing chronic diseases. Food and Beverage (F&B) manufacturers in India have the potential,and the responsibility, to be part of the solution to this double burden of malnutrition.”

The 2016 Access to Nutrition India Spotlight Index is published by ATNF, an independent not-for-profit organization based in The Netherlands, which develops and publishes a range of such Indexes. The purpose of the 2016 India Index is to provide stakeholders with an independent, objective assessment of the extent to which the country’s largest F&B manufacturers are addressing the double burden of malnutrition in India. ATNF hopes that this first India Spotlight Index will encourage F&B manufacturers to increase consumers’ access to nutritious products and to responsibly exercise their substantial influence on consumer choice and behavior, thereby improving the diets of millions of Indians and contributing to reducing the serious health and economic consequences of both obesity and under nutrition.

Ten of India’s largest corporates in the F&B sector were assessed for the first India Index, most of which participated actively in the research, thereby demonstrating that they see value in the Index.

India is described as facing a double burden of malnutrition because it has a large undernourished population while the number of overweight and obese people is growing rapidly. In real terms: India is home to the largest number of stunted children in the world – 48 million under the age of 5 years old are wasted – while at the same time, childhood obesity is reaching alarming proportions. The obesity prevalence rate reached 22% in children and adolescents aged between 5-19 years over the last five years.

Key findings of the first India Spotlight Index are that most of India’s largest F&B manufacturers make strategic commitments to grow their businesses by focusing on health and nutrition and demonstrate some good practice. However, the aggregate picture is that the sector has a long way to go if it is to make a significant difference to India’s nutrition challenges. The translation of words into actions will require clear and ambitious strategies in all areas of their businesses underpinned by specific, measurable and time-bound commitments to contribute to fighting all forms of malnutrition.

Companies have been scored out of a maximum of ten. The leading companies on the Corporate Profile – Nestlé India and Hindustan Unilever–with scores of 7.1 and 6.7 respectively–have done more than the other seven companies assessed to integrate nutrition into their business models.

Mother Dairy, Hindustan Unilever and Amul, on the other hand, sell the largest proportion of healthy products among the Index companies. Mother Dairy scored 5.6 out of 10 on the Product Profile, Hindustan Unilever scored 4.6 and Amul scored 4.4.

Using the same methodology to assess BMS marketing as in Vietnam and Indonesia in 2015, the research found only one company of the eight assessed in Mumbai – Raptakos Brett – to be in complete compliance with the IMS Act. While some incidences of non-compliance were identified related to the other seven companies assessed, overall they were found broadly to comply with the IMS Act – a testament to its strength and vigilant monitoring by local stakeholders.

Nevertheless, several types of marketing were identified, like those found by the Breastfeeding Promotion Network India (BPNI) which does not comply with the letter or the spirit of the IMS Act, such as promotions by online retailers and promotional wording on product labels.

The final scores of the two BMS companies included in the 2016 India Spotlight Index – Nestlé India and Amul – were adjusted to reflect the findings of the BMS assessment.

 

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