INSIDE OUR FOOD AND BEVERAGE MANUFACTURERS 2018

Food and beverage manufacturers have an important role to play in creating healthier food environments and contributing to efforts to improve population diets.

Inside Our Food and Beverage Manufacturers 2018 assessed the largest Australian food and beverage manufacturers on their policies and commitments related to obesity prevention and nutrition.

Overall findings


Australian supermarkets demonstrated some commitment to addressing health and nutrition issues, but much stronger action is needed across the sector

Overall findings


Most of the largest Australian food and beverage manufacturers have some stated commitment to addressing obesity and population nutrition issues, but companies varied substantially in the transparency, comprehensiveness and specificity of their policies and commitments

Overall findings


Australian supermarkets demonstrated some commitment to addressing health and nutrition issues, but much stronger action is needed across the sector

Overall findings


Most of the largest Australian food and beverage manufacturers have some stated commitment to addressing obesity and population nutrition issues, but companies varied substantially in the transparency, comprehensiveness and specificity of their policies and commitments

Areas in which Australian food and beverage manufacturers have shown good progress:

1. Corporate strategy: Acknowledging their responsibility for addressing obesity and population nutrition issues, by incorporating obesity prevention and/or population nutrition into the corporate strategy to some extent (16 out of 19 companies)
2. Product formulation: Reporting some action / making commitments to reformulate products to reduce levels of nutrients of concern (16 out of 19 companies)
3. Nutrition labelling: Committing to implement the Australian government-endorsed Health Star Rating system (11 out of 19 companies)

Key recommendations for food and beverage manufacturers:

 

1| Corporate strategy: Prioritise obesity prevention and population nutrition as part of the overall company strategy, and align the company’s obesity prevention and nutrition-related policies with global health and sustainability goals
2| Product formulation: Set measurable targets and timelines to reduce sodium, free sugars, saturated fat, and artificially produced trans fat, in conjunction with government-led programs (e.g., Healthy Food Partnership) to improve the healthiness of the food supply
3| Nutrition labelling: All companies to commit to implement the Australian government-endorsed Health Star Rating system across all relevant products in their portfolios
4| Promotion to children and adolescents: Implement a policy on marketing to children that effectively restricts the exposure of children and adolescents (up to the age of 18) to the promotion of ‘less healthy’ products and brands
5| Product accessibility: Commit to work with retailers to increase the prominence of healthier products relative to ‘less healthy’ products in-store (e.g., through shelf space and strategic placement) and in promotional catalogues
6| Relationships with external groups: Publish all relationships (including funding and support) with external groups (e.g., professional associations, research organisations, community and industry groups) related to health
and nutrition

Conclusion and implications

Australian food and beverage manufacturers have acknowledged their responsibility for being part of efforts to prevent obesity and improve population diets, and have some related policies and commitments in place. However, companies varied substantially in their policies and commitments, and there is considerable room for improvement for all companies. 


Food and beverage manufacturers need to implement a broad range of actions to contribute to societal efforts to create healthier food environments in Australia.Industry associations, such as the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) and the Australian Beverages Council, can support individual companies to adopt this report’s recommendations and coordinate company action across the sector.

Governments need to closely monitor the implementation of company policies and commitments related to obesity prevention and nutrition, and consider stronger policy intervention where voluntary company actions are insufficient. Other stakeholder groups,including investors, need to monitor company progress, particularly as part of evaluation of company contributions to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

©2018 by InsideOurFoodCompanies.