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Nestlé Nutrition Targets Fall Short for Shareholders

Food company Nestlé’s shareholders have said the firm’s new nutrition targets “fall short” of the role they expect it to play in improving public health. Nestlé’s stated aim is to increase sales from ‘more nutritious’ products by 50% by 2030, with the target “broadly in line” with its current overall growth guidance of 4-6% per year. However, investors – including the UK asset manager Legal and General Investment Management and workplace pension scheme Nest – co-ordinated by responsible investment NGO ShareAction noted that should sales of unhealthier products also increase at a similar rate, there will be “no improvement in the impact of the food it sells on consumer diets and public health”. Investors also flagged that the company had opted to count some products such as coffee and commercial baby food as ‘nutritious’ despite government-endorsed nutrient profile models not applying to them. As a result, this could mean that Nestlé is able to meet its target by selling more of these foods with “no positive impact on public health”. Tom Sanders, ESG analyst at Nest, said: “Unhealthy food options, and the heavy reliance of companies on the sales of products high in fat, sugar and salt, generates financial risks, compromises the wellbeing of communities and creates risks for the economy. Nestlé’s target has fallen short of adequately addressing its over-reliance on the sales of unhealthy products.” 

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