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New Index Ranks Global Food and Beverage Companies

Update Date: Mar 13, 2013 03:49 PM EDT
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A new index known as the first edition of Access to Nutrition Index ranked 25 of the world's largest food and beverage companies, placing Danone, Unilever and Nestle in the top three spots. The project was headed by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, with the goal of informing consumers which companies might have better products as well as better manufacturing policies. The ranking also informs companies on how they are performing, which would ideally encourage these companies to make changes and improve their policies and products.

The index measured the companies based on the corporate nutrition policies, the number of healthier and affordable items, the quality of the nutrition labels, and the responsibility of marketing, which means that products should not be misleading consumers. Although the creators of the index also realize that even the best company is far from perfect, they feel that this list will motivate them all to try and change their policies and products.

"It's a challenge to come up with a score when a company could have many thousands of products. I give them high remarks for courage for undertaking a difficult but very important task," commented Kelly Brownell, the director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University.

The index rating, however, is an overall assessment on how these companies address obesity issues and poor nutrition problems through their products. Since it is an overall assessment, junk foods and unhealthy food options will inevitably still show up in the higher ranked companies. Therefore, the task of ranking these companies is extremely difficult because the index encompasses everything from frozen foods and ice cream to soda and baby food.

The highest rankings were from a 6 to 6.3, with the highest possible score at 10. This number reveals the amount of work all of these companies need to put in to make their products better for public health. The creators of the index recommend companies to make better objectives and targets for nutrition, implement stricter guidelines for marketing, and to ensure better ways to providing nutrition in their more affordable products.

This list may not be perfect, but it is a start for companies to try and change their policies and products for the better. The full list can be found here: http://www.accesstonutrition.org.

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