CPG Measures Progress on Health Issues

April 13, 2015

A key deadline to reveal company policies on nutrition and product formulations will arrive in January 2016.

Originally published in the Facts, Figures & the Future free, weekly e-newsletter. Click here to subscribe.

Health and wellness issues continue to weigh heavily on CPG manufacturers - with good reason. The World Health Organization estimates that 16 million people globally die prematurely each year before the age of 70 from heart and lung diseases, stroke, cancer and diabetes.  

WHO has set nine voluntary global targets to reduce premature deaths from NCDs (non-communicable diseases) 25 percent by the year 2025. Three of these goals are dietary: slash by 30 percent the mean intake of salt/sodium; cut by 10 percent harmful use of alcohol; halt the rise in diabetes and obesity.

As Gallup plots the highest U.S. obesity rate ever – 27.7 percent in 2014, up from 27.1 percent in 2013 and 25.5 percent in 2008 – the nation looks for CPG manufacturers to do their part to reduce health risks.

Approaching five years into its Health & Wellness Resolutions, the industry body The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) commissioned Deloitte to benchmark progress of its 63 members (29 food and beverage manufacturers, 26 retailers, and eight personal care product manufacturers) to build “global collaboration across manufacturers and retailers and between food, personal care, and hygiene,” says its Health and Wellness Progress Report. And to measure compliance with Resolutions, which commit members to support healthier diets and lifestyles, market responsibly and convey product information.

The more transparent the supply chain becomes and the more nutritious the product formulas, the less consumer skepticism brands will face and the better chance they’ll have to be accepted by Millennials and Generation Z – as well as by older generations aiming to stay well and active as long as possible, says Facts, Figures & The Future (F3). Responsible marketing and education programs should also sway consumers to make smarter health and lifestyle choices on their own.

Deadlines arrive in January 2016 to make company policies on nutrition and product formulation public and to implement employee health and wellness programs. The CGF plan for mid-2018 is to have consistent product labeling and consumer information industrywide and to stop targeted advertising to children under 12 for products that don’t fulfill specific nutrition criteria.

Meanwhile, Deloitte shows that CGF member companies in the past three years have formulated or reformulated a total of 22,500 products to support healthier diets and address public health priorities. More than 10,500 have lower energy levels; more than 11,500 are lower in salt/sodium; more than 11,000 have less sugar; more than 11,500 have lower saturates; more than 16,500 are lower in trans fats; more than 600 are enhanced with whole grains, Omega-3 or vitamins, as examples.

In 2014 alone, the data show CGF member companies:

  • Reached 91 million consumers via education programs, leading to better-informed purchase decisions, particularly in personal care.
  • Partnered with 47,000 school communities to teach 98 million children about healthier diets, good hygiene, and regular physical activity. 

CGF has set a five-year plan to accelerate industry engagement, establish metrics of success, and create a signature program called Consumer Goods for Better Lives.