NESTLÉ is fully committed to contributing to good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. We share concerns about rising obesity, specifically among children, throughout the world, including in developing countries, where the double burden of over- and under-nutrition occurs.
Obesity is a complex societal problem, which requires the involvement and cooperation of many parties including scientists, academia, consumers, health leaders, the food and beverage industry, as well as national and international authorities.
Obesity is influenced by a range of factors, such as physical activity, school curricula and genetics. These, in combination with large portion sizes, foods and drinks with elevated calorie content, can contribute to an unbalanced diet.
Understanding the Impact of Advertising
Advertising is a minor element in the context of the many factors that determine individual food preferences, consumption and behaviour. This is demonstrated by the Obesity Systems Influence Diagram, which illustrates the many factors contributing to the obesity epidemic. The diagram shows 108 drivers of obesity (compiled from 38 science reviews) in a systemic view. Positive and negative influence arrows on the diagram link the variables into a web of causal relationships (Foresight Tackling Obesity Project).
Dealing responsibly with advertising and marketing to children is part of the larger solution, and one that NESTLÉ is well-placed to influence. For more details, please see Advertising to children, and below.
Principles concerning appropriate communication with consumers have been part of NESTLÉ’s Corporate Business Principles since they were first published in 1999, and they undergo periodic review.
A more comprehensive and detailed set of Consumer Communication Principles was released in 2002. These were further strengthened with regard to children in 2004, 2007 and, most recently, in September 2011.
NESTLÉ’s Consumer Communication Principles:
- encourage moderation, healthy eating habits and physical activity without, in the case of children, undermining the authority of parents or creating unrealistic expectations of popularity or success; and
- must be referred to by all marketing staff and advertising agencies globally.
Our Policy on Marketing Communication to Children, in place since 2008, is that no advertising or marketing activity is directed to children below six years of age; and that advertising to children aged 6 to 12 is restricted to products with a nutritional profile which helps children achieve a healthy, balanced diet, including limits for ingredients such as sugar, salt and fat.
In September 2011, we further strengthened our Policy on Marketing Communication to Children by making two amendments.
First, with respect to digital media, the whole digisphere, including company-owned websites, is now included in our policy.
Second, to ensure that more programming is covered, the policy applies when 35% or more of the audience (down from the previous threshold of 50%) is under 12 years of age.
NESTLÉ has a process in place to better ensure global compliance with our Consumer Communication Principles and Policy on Marketing Communication to Children. This includes a set of Implementation Guidelines, support and a monitoring system. For more detail on how we are implementing these policies, see Advertising to children