Will Nestle offer healthier food?

What is the Nestlé Health Offensive?

I visited Nestlé outside of Lausanne, Switzerland back when I lived in Germany and sold Business Intelligence Projects. It is a very impressive laboratory. Probably the most famous products are "Crunch" and "Kit Kat". Nestlé also owns dozens of frozen foods brands.

Nestlé Health Offensive

The largest food company (by revenue) aims to make their food more healthy. The challenge is to implement changes in a way that does not scare buyers off. Nestlé plans to decrease the amount of sugar and sodium in food by 10 percent until the year 2016. They also plan to reduce the amount of fat.

In 2008, Pepsi announced that by 2020 they wanted to double the sales of what they call "nutrition" food. So far "nutrition food" is at 20 % of their turnover. Even Walmart with its store brands is talking about producing healthier food. Only the majority of consumers is not yet buying into it.

Nestle Health Offensive

Nestlé will still not appeal to organic or healthy eaters, so they need to make sure that they do not lose too much of their current customer base. Nestlé is not particularly known for nutritional or healthy foods. Nestlé will not communicate the changes on the product labels or packing. They are too scared that customers might be thrown off by terms like "less sugar" "less fat" or "less sodium".

Nestlé has a foundation called "Nestlé Nutritional Foundation" that has the purpose of improving the nutritional value of Nestlé products.

Half a.... hearted approach

Guess how Nestlé plans to reach their goal of 10 % less fat and sugar in Kit Kat? We learned about the "Nestlé Nutritional Foundation" and we know about their huge teams of scientists and marketers. Did you guess it? Yeah, they will reduce the size of Kit Kat bars.

Other companies put their laundry detergent or coffee into pods to increase their revenue. But I understand that Nestlé is just trying to help me live more healthy by reducing the size of the bars.

But the continued worry of Nestlé for our health is nearly limitless. In Canada, they sell Smarties with a new box that is divided into three compartments.

Of course, changing the recipes is harder. And also more expensive. In example, they could use more cocoa or vanilla in chocolate bars so that consumers still have the same intense flavor. Way pricier than cheap fat and sugar.

I have read that you should not use sarcasm when writing because it can lead to misunderstanding when people don't know you personally. But I cannot help it because this just is too cynical.

Replacing sodium is pretty hard (as it also acts as an agent) and customers are stubborn with their craving for sodium and fat.

So...how about the artificial coloring? Artificial flavor? GMO? MSG?

Well, Nestlé has removed genetically modified ingredients from their baby food. Hmmmmm does that imply they think it´s not healthy?

In all fairness. I should mention that Nestlé discusses to remove artificial dyes and coloring from their food. But discussed is not decided, implemented or brought to market.

That said, the European Union and the Government of the UK were pressuring Nestlé, and some artificals are already banned there (not in the States though) or in the process of being banned.

Fat, MSG´s, and Sugar are addictive

As with every other addiction, it is not easy to make changes. Nestlé (and the food industry in general) call it "craveable."

It is for a reason that people eat the whole chocolate bar, or several, and the entire bag of chips. I have not heard from a client yet that he uncontrollable ate a whole bag of carrots. Or 24 eggs in one sitting.

It is not your fault when companies hide sugar with eight different names and you nearly have to be a Holistic Nutrition Consultant to understand what is listed on the labels. And the feeling of guilt after overeating ...

It is a spiral but you can get out.

Scroll below (or read on) to learn how you can free yourself from this addiction. Back to Nestlé´s Health Offensive:

Final Verdict and the Power of Consumers

Personally, I am not buying it. I do not care about 10 % less or more fat or sugar as long as a company uses GMO ingredients, MSG, and artificial additives.

The company had all the time in the world to offer healthier food, but they chose to wait until declines in turnover for businesses that sell unhealthy food scared them.

Declines in revenue of vendors of unhealthy food (see McDonalds) made a change necessary. I would call the changes slight harm reduction at the most.

While it is about turnover, not about our health, it is a great example of the power of consumers. As soon as we stop buying what is not good for us they WILL make changes.

I feel while this is a half-hearted approach it gives hope. Turnover is the button we need to press to get the food giants to make changes.

Winning the Game of Weight Loss

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