International

Index assesses companies’ progress on nutrition issues

July 23, 2021

fruits and vegetables 

To achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal to eliminate hunger by 2030, access to healthy, affordable food is a necessity. Investors use the recently released Global Access to Nutrition Index (ATNI) as they engage food and beverage companies on the nutritional value of their products.

In July, the Access to Nutrition Foundation released the fourth iteration of the index, which scores 25 leading food and beverage manufacturers on their commitments, practices, and disclosure relating to the production and distribution of healthy, affordable, accessible products; governance and management; and how they influence consumer choices. Nestlé leads the ranking, but the average score remains the same as the 2018 index, indicating that more progress on nutrition-related issues is still needed.

The index reports that six companies now use front-of-pack labeling to help consumers identify healthier products. The index also highlights the COVID-19 pandemic’s impacts on health and malnutrition, and the links between chronic diet-related diseases, like obesity, and severe COVID symptoms. 

Mercy Investment Services and fellow ATNI investor signatories are asking the 25 benchmarked companies questions on the findings and recommendations for continued improvement. Mercy and partners continue to lead ATNI engagements with Kellogg and Nestlé and actively participate in several others including Campbell Soup, General Mills, and Kraft-Heinz. Investors hope that the ATNI, in conjunction with the 2021 Nutrition Year of Action and the UN’s upcoming Food Systems Summit, will help drive positive changes in the food system.