On the United Nations International Day of Families, Nestlé announced its global “Nestlé for Healthier Kids” initiative. The program includes the further development of healthier products and advice for families on nutrition and exercise. It aims at helping 50 million children lead healthier lives by 2030.
Since its foundation, Nestlé has been committed to helping parents and caregivers provide the right nutrition to their children. With this new initiative, Nestlé is accelerating the transformation of its food and beverage portfolio worldwide. In 2017 alone, the company launched more than 1000 new products to meet the nutritional needs of children. In the same year, it provided 174 billion servings of fortified foods and beverages in 66 countries where people lack essential micronutrients such as iron, iodine and vitamin A.
Mark Schneider, Nestlé CEO, said: “Childhood is a time where life-long habits are formed. We want to help parents make healthier choices for their children. This is why we are accelerating our efforts to support families in raising healthier kids and we call on others to join us in this endeavor.”
Nestlé already reformulates around one third of its product portfolio every year. It will use its industry-leading innovation capability to further enhance foods and beverages for children with even more fruits, vegetables, fiber-rich grains and micronutrients. Nestlé will also continue to reduce sugars, salt and saturated fats. Some recent product launches include Gerber Grabbers Strong Veggies vegetable and fruit purees, Nido organic milk powder and Nesquik Alphabet whole grain breakfast cereals with reduced sugar.
For over a decade, Nestlé has improved the nutritional value of its products. With “Nestlé for Healthier Kids”, the company pledges to continue this work for the long term. Its immediate goals by 2020 are to:
- Add at least 750 million portions (80g) of vegetables to its products;
- Add at least 300 million portions (16g) of fiber-rich grains, pulses, nuts & seeds to its products;
- Further reduce sugars by 5%. Since 2000, the company has reduced sugars by over 34%;
- Further reduce salt by 10%. Since 2005, the company has reduced salt by over 20%;
- Complete the commitment taken in 2014, to reduce saturated fats by 10% in all relevant products that do not meet WHO recommendations;
In Central and West Africa, Nestlé helps children lead healthier lives through four main avenues: promoting healthy lifestyles in schools, fostering physical activity, educating parents on nutrition as well as improving the nutrient profile of its foods and beverages by fortifying them in vitamins and minerals while reducing sugar, fat and salt.
The Nestlé Healthy Kids (NHK) programme has reached close to 115,000 schoolchildren across the region thus far. Run with endorsement from key government partners, like the Ministries of Education and Health, the programme aims to address important health issues in school children such as anemia and obesity, by promoting sound nutrition and physical activity, along with good hygiene, healthy hydration and vegetable gardening. In several countries, NHK is used as a model to strengthen healthy lifestyle promotion in schools such as in Burkina Faso where the Ministry of Education is considering integrating the learnings of the NHK pilot into its national school health programme. There, NHK took a comprehensive approach by training teachers as well as providing textbooks, hygiene kits and drinking water bottles, school gardens, school canteen and rehabilitating school infrastructures. In Nigeria, NHK is further scaling up this year thanks to a close collaboration with the Ministry of Education. In Cameroon, the programme is implemented in collaboration with the ministeries of Public Health and Basic Education.
In line with its purpose to enhance quality of life and contribute to a healthier future, Nestlé sponsors sports events such as the Milo U-13 Football and Basketball Championships in Ghana and Nigeria respectively. These programmes encourage children to be active while also inculcating them life values such as respect, teamwork, determination and focus. By identifying and nurturing budding sports talents from grassroots, a number of participants have gone on to play in national and professional leagues.
Numerous nutrition education initiatives also take place across the region. Parents and mothers-to-be can source guidance and expert advice on good nutrition for their babies through Nestlé’s Start Healthy Stay Healthy Facebook pages in Ghana and Nigeria as well as through their health care providers, several of which receive continuous scientific education through the Nestlé Nutrition Institute for Africa. The Nido dairy brand has pioneered initiatives like the Nutrition Day in Ghana, Nutri-Academie in Burkina Faso and Carton Rouge for countries in Central Africa. These activities provided a platform to engage children and their parents on the importance of healthy diets and lifestyles through play based learning. Nestlé also educates the wider public on nutrition through radio programmes called Nestlé Nutrition Line in Ghana and Burkina Faso. Globally, Nestlé will enhance programs and online services designed to provide parents and caregivers with more nutritional knowledge, healthy recipes and practical tips. In 2017, over 300 partnerships worldwide have helped the company reach more than 14 million children.
Improving the nutrient profile of its food and beverages is also a core interest of Nestlé. Its portfolio of children products is fortified with essential vitamins and minerals to support normal growth and development of children. The most recent innovation being Golden Morn Puffs, a nutritious multi grain breakfast cereal and Milo with Activ-go fortified with vitamins and Iron. In 2017, 100% of its children’s products in Central and West Africa met Nestlé’s nutritional profiling criteria, which means they are deemed to have met the Nestlé Nutritional Foundation® and can be considered an appropriate choice within a healthy balanced diet. In 2017, Nestlé provided 67 billion servings of fortified foods and beverages.