Nestle India Slashes Added Sugar in Baby Foods by 30% in Five-Year Wellness Quest

by Renee Koch

Nestle India has announced a significant reduction in the added sugar content of its baby food products in the country, acknowledging a decrease of over 30 percent across various products over the last five years. This announcement comes in the backdrop of reports suggesting that the global FMCG giant had been selling products with higher sugar content in less developed countries, including South Asian, African, and Latin American nations, compared to its offerings in Europe.

The Swiss NGO, Public Eye, and the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) brought these findings to light, noting a particular concern for the products sold in less developed nations such as India. In response to inquiries, a spokesperson for Nestle India emphasized the company’s commitment to reducing added sugars as a pivotal aspect of their product development strategy. The spokesperson stated, “Over the past 5 years, we have already reduced added sugars up to 30 percent, depending on the variant.”

Nestle India is actively engaged in ongoing product portfolio reviews to innovate and reformulate their product offerings. The primary aim is to continually reduce levels of added sugars while ensuring that the nutritional quality, safety, and taste of their products are not compromised. The company reiterates its dedication to manufacturing infant cereal products that meet the requisite nutritional needs of early childhood, such as protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and iron.

“We never compromise and will never compromise on the nutritional quality of our products,” stated the company spokesperson. Underlining their commitment, Nestle India also highlighted its use of a global Research and Development network to improve the nutritional profile of its offerings continually.

Addressing compliance with regulatory standards, the company assured that all its products manufactured in India adhere strictly to both CODEX standards—established by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)—and local regulatory specifications pertaining to nutrient content, including added sugars.

The scrutiny of Nestle’s products by IBFAN involved a study of around 150 different baby food items sold across various countries. A particular point of contention was the Cerelac wheat-based product for six-month-old babies, which is sold without any added sugars in the UK and Germany. In contrast, analyses of 15 Cerelac products from India revealed an average of 2.7 grams of added sugar per serving. The report also highlighted disparities in sugar content and packaging declarations in other countries, with the highest sugar content found in Thailand at 6 grams, and undisclosed sugar content levels in five out of eight product samples in the Philippines standing at 7.3 grams.

In light of these revelations, Nestle India has reiterated its dedication to providing optimal nutrition to its consumers, a commitment it has upheld for over a century. The company assures that it maintains the highest standards of nutrition, quality, and safety in all its products, remaining steadfast in its commitment to delivering the best possible nutrition to its customers around the world.


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