More companies are engaging on health, says CGF

By Katy Askew contact

- Last updated on GMT

Companies are engaging with communities to promote healthy diets, says CGF
Companies are engaging with communities to promote healthy diets, says CGF
More FMCG companies are engaging with communities to deliver improved health outcomes, according to a new report from the Consumer Goods Forum.

The annual Health and Wellness Pillar Progress Report revealed a 26% increase in companies that are participating in health-related programmes among CGF members.

The Forum represents 400 consumer facing companies across 70 countries, generating combined annual revenues of more than €3.5trn. It counts the likes of Unilever, Danone and Nestle as its members alongside retailers such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Carrefour and Metro. The Health and Wellness report is based on a survey of 83 CGF members, who generate a combined €2.44trn in revenues.

“Our ambition to empower consumers to lead healthier lives is an important long-term objective that requires sustained effort,”​ The CGF board co-sponsors Mark Schneider, CEO of Nestlé, and Dick Boer, Ahold Delhaize president and CEO, wrote in the foreword to the report.

“We are helping to improve the health of the communities we serve, but we know that there is so much more we can do together. Building upon our initial five-year plan from 2013, we now intend to strengthen our leadership in this area for the next five years and beyond.”

Community engagement a ‘major focus’

Community engagement has been a “major focus​” for the FMCG sector over the last year, with 85% of consumer goods companies forming partnerships with community stakeholders.

Over 1.6 million employees participated in health and wellness programmes, the report found. Employees form key groups within local communities and improving health in the workplace is also seen as an important step towards healthier communities, the CGF noted.

Furthermore, nearly six in ten companies (58%) said they had been involved in food bank programmes, with 180m meals distributed and in excess of 77,400 tonnes of food donated.

Backing collaboration

The Consumer Goods Forum has championed community action in the CPG space through its Collaboration for Healthier Lives (CHL) initiative.

The Forum said it has “pushed​” the issue of community health programmes and working with local public health authorities to the “top of the agenda in the boardroom​”.

The project aims to drive positive action within communities around the world by encouraging FMCG companies to actively promote health and wellness in the community.

In 2017, CHL initiatives have taken place in Colombia, Japan and the US, and more are planned to be rolled-out this year in Costa Rica, Mexico and the UK. Activities have included distributing educational material in stores, engaging with local educational institutions, promoting the benefits of healthier choices and regular exercise through health fairs and free in-store health checks.

The Consumer Goods Forum’s director of health and wellness, Sharon Bligh, commented: “This year’s annual report highlights the progress that’s being made on a community level…. We are delighted to see our members’ projects reach such a large number of employees and communities”.

Doubling-down on reformulation

Local engagement is the major theme of this year’s Health & Wellness Pillar report, which emphasises the benefits of retailer and manufacturer collaboration. However, the report also shows that product reformulation continued to be a focus for the sector over the past 12 months.

The report shows 88% of companies said they had introduced products that had been formulated or reformulated to support healthier diets and lifestyles. There was also a 12% rise in the number of businesses that are cutting salt and sugar in their products.

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