CGF hails ‘good progress’ on health and wellness: ‘We’ve come a long way’

By Katy Askew contact

- Last updated on GMT

Healthier food, more transparency and increased collaboration: The CGF reports 2018 progress and looks to the future ©Getty
Healthier food, more transparency and increased collaboration: The CGF reports 2018 progress and looks to the future ©Getty

Related tags: Consumer goods forum, Health, reformulation

Consumer goods retailers and manufacturers are making ‘good progress’ on their ambition to enable consumers to make healthier lifestyle choices, according to a new report from the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF).

The latest results from the CGF’s global survey​, conducted in conjunction with Deloitte, showed progress in ‘all categories’ and a ‘significant improvement’ in all the CGF health and wellness commitments.

“Consumers and our employees want to be empowered to make changes to their health and wellbeing, so they can live healthy and more active lifestyles for longer. People are craving change, and we recognise our industry’s role in both preventing illness and in empowering people to live healthier lives,”​ Sharon Bligh, director of health & wellness at the Consumer Goods Forum, said.

This is the fifth edition of the report, measuring progress on the CGF’s resolutions and commitments. The CGF Health & Wellness Pillar supports the WHO Action Plan on non-communicable diseases, as well as three of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): zero hunger (Goal 2), good health and well-being (Goal 3), and partnerships for the goals (Goal 17).

According to the organisation, which represents the world’s largest consumer goods retailers and manufacturers, it shows CGF members are “members are meeting consumers’ expectations”​ and “fulfilling the industry’s ambition to empower consumers to lead healthier lives”​. In total, 75 CGF member companies shared details on their health and wellness initiatives.

Healthier products, increased transparency 

The data for 2018 data shows 98% of companies reported reformulating at least some part of their product portfolio to align with health and wellness policies, while over 70% of companies offered low-salt or low-sugar versions of their products.

Since 2015 over 320,000 products have been reformulated, CGF noted. Over 70% of companies reported reformulating salt and sugar in their products.

On responsible advertising, 76% of companies reported that they are not advertising HFSS products to children under 12. 

Companies are also engaging with other stakeholders to promote health and wellness. CGF flagged partnerships between its members and education authorities on health and wellness initiatives for over 550,000 schools.

Transparency is important if the consumer goods sector is to win and retain trust, CGF said. In total, 79% of companies declared that 81%-100% of their food and beverage products display key nutrient information on pack.

"Our efforts have helped convince more companies of the importance of transparency in labelling. Ethical and political considerations, sensitivities and allergies are changing the way we prepare and consume our foods. Technology has also given consumers unprecedented access to information about ingredients and raw materials. In short, a consumer demanding better information about a product will find it, with or without the cooperation of suppliers, manufacturers and retailers. This makes transparency vital to strong consumer relations."​ - CGF Health & Wellness Progress Report

The report is a member-driven initiative co-sponsored at the CGF board by the CEOs of Nestlé, Mark Schneider, and Ahold Delhaize, Frans Muller. At the steering committee level, it is co-chaired by Danone and Walmart.

"This report shows our efforts to work towards these goals in a business context, foster collaborative action, and provide practical tools to help with their implementation and growth. It also serves as a guide to CGF members as they embark on their own internal health and wellness initiatives," Schneider and Muller said. 

“We've come a long way since this survey began five years ago, but, we are not finished yet and there is still much to do,”​ Bligh added.

“It proves that as we move into our next five-year plan, collaborative actions will continue to be a force for good and an essential component of driving positive change at scale.”

CGF’s flagship initiative ‘Collaboration for Healthier Lives’ (CHL), is based on three common convictions: 

  1. By acting together retailers, manufacturers and local stakeholders can engage towards healthier behaviours.
  2. Being a convening platform for stakeholders, public health authorities to learn and impact at scale.
  3. Driving shared value to support society in a sustainable manner through good business.

Future focus: Collaboration

This latest edition of the survey ends the CGF’s initial five-year strategy on health and wellness.

As part of the next five-year plan, focus will now evolve to the team’s flagship initiative ‘Collaboration for Healthier Lives’ (CHL).

Through collaboration, CGF members will test new approaches and share best practices in nudging people’s behaviour to healthier practices.

“CGF members are recognising the immense potential of community-based initiatives and the need for greater transparency to deliver meaningful behaviour change, a move supported by the survey data collected over the last few years,”​ the organisation said. 

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