Buffeted by ‘unhealthy’ tag, Nestle eyes defensive outreach

Firm says under 30% of global portfolio will miss external ‘healthfulness’ norms

Buffeted by global reports that the majority of mainstream food and drink products from Nestle could not be considered healthy, the Indian unit of the Switzerland-based multinational is planning an outreach campaign in a bid to reassure and retain consumers.

“Recent reports have questioned the healthfulness of Nestlé products, because of a global internal working document that was reported out of context,” a Nestle India spokesperson said, adding that the portfolio analysis only covered about half the global sales, since several prominent categories were not included.

‘Indulgent products’

“Looking at the global portfolio as a whole, less than 30% would not meet stringent external ‘healthfulness’ standards, mostly representing indulgent products, which are acceptable in moderation as part of healthy, balanced and enjoyable diet,” the spokesperson added.

The Financial Times last month reported an internal company presentation at the Swiss food giant had acknowledged that more than 60% of its products do not meet the ‘recognised definition of health’.

“We will be releasing print advertisements over the next few days reassuring consumers that we genuinely care about what matters to them, what concerns them and that we are there for them 24×7 if they have any questions or suggestions,” the spokesperson said, adding the advertisements would carry details of e-mail id and phone numbers that could be used to reach out to the company.

“Our approach as a credible, trustworthy and responsible company is to always communicate with consumers on facts, in a humble and transparent tone and manner,” the spokesperson added.

In 2015, the company’s popular Maggi noodles faced a ban of almost five months after FSSAI said that they were “unsafe and hazardous” for consumption due to lead content beyond permissible limits.

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