Mondelēz International’s global announcement last month that it will expand its commitment to health and wellness through new global nutrition targets has been welcomed by industry and the public sector.

The unveiled “Call for Well-being” strategy includes setting new global nutrition targets across its product portfolio that include investing in their “Better Choice” products, reducing sodium, increasing whole grains and increasing snack options of 200 calories or less. These targets are in addition to other commitments to sustainability, communities and safety.

Janice Armstrong, Vice President, Communications and Government Affairs, Asia Pacific at Mondelēz International described the targets as “an entrepreneurial approach to address the growing concerns around public health and the environment”.

FIA Secretariat was fortunate to speak with Ms Armstrong, to understand more about the global commitments and how this will impact their business in Asia.

FIA: Tell us about “Call for Well-being” strategy and the targets that Mondelēz International has set.
Armstrong:
The “Call for Well-being” strategy unveils Mondelēz International’s plan to promote well-being globally by empowering consumers to snack mindfully, establishing partnerships to promote healthy lifestyles, securing sustainable agricultural supplies, reducing our environmental footprint, and furthering product safety.

The strategy seeks to broaden the reach and impact of our current global programmes, and we’ve set targets to achieve under each of the four key areas of action. For the first time, we have also included global nutrition targets across our product portfolio in addition to commitments to reduce our environmental footprint by 2015 and further enhance product safety.

In health and wellness, we are aiming to help consumers make more mindful and informed diet choices. For the company, that means growing our “Better Choice” products, which meet stricter nutrition criteria, to 25 percent of our overall global revenue. That will mean making a greater marketing investment behind products that provide a healthy alternative. At the same time, we’re also looking to reformulate and balance our product portfolio, by committing to reducing sodium and saturated fat by 10 percent; increasing whole grains by 25 percent and increasing individual wrapped options of 200 calories or less by 25 percent.

We believe these global nutrition targets, will help our consumers manage their calories, reduce their sodium and saturated fat intake as well as increase their consumption of whole grains.

Alongside health and wellness, the safety of our products has and will continue to be at the forefront of our priorities. The Call for Wellbeing strategy also aims to ensure that all of our company’s manufacturing facilities achieve third-party food safety certification by 2015.

In addition, we’ve also expanded our long-standing and respected environmental programme to substantially reduce our environmental footprint by 2015.

These are very tangible targets that we will be reporting on year-on-year. This isn’t something we’re doing for CSR and to have a story tell. It’s very much tied to our business and our growth priorities.

FIA: Nutrition targets are incredibly complex to set on a global scale. Why did Mondelēz International decide to set nutrition targets this year?
Armstrong:
Mondelēz International has set environmental targets for many years, which have earned the respect of leading organisations such as the Dow Jones Sustainability Index as well as our consumers who are concerned about how their food is produced. We earned this trust because we set targets, we were transparent on our progress and we delivered on our promises.

We recognise that we also have a role to play in addressing the growing concerns people have around their health and wellness. We believe we can apply the same thinking that we have used in environmental sustainability to the area of nutrition.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) health and nutrition goals last year set a target on public health priorities, including reducing salt and saturated fat consumption, and encouraging physical activity for a healthier lifestyle. Mondelēz International has aligned our thinking with these targets to demonstrate our commitment and journey towards encouraging healthier lifestyles. These are ambitious goals that won’t happen overnight, but by setting targets we can demonstrate our commitment and progress.

FIA: How is Mondelēz International looking to step up efforts in nutrition education?
Armstrong:
In order for consumers to make mindful and informed diet decisions, they require the right information to be delivered to them clearly and simply. Clear information on food labels will help consumers be more knowledgeable about the nutritional value of the food they buy and how these food choices can affect their overall diet.

Mondelēz International is committed to providing front-of-pack labelling that delivers clear information at a single glance. We currently provide nutrition labelling on all products in all our countries globally and we’re aiming to have calorie front-of-pack globally on all of our relevant products by 2016.

Partnership is essential, particularly in health and wellness, as these are really tough challenges. We will be looking to partner with outside experts and public sector partners who can help us come up with innovation solutions for these challenges.

In line with this, we’re also investing $50 million in healthy-lifestyle community partnerships over the next several years, which will focus on nutrition education and the promotion of active lifestyles.

FIA: How does Mondelēz view the value of industry associations like FIA and the International Food and Beverage Alliance (IFBA) in developing global and regional industry commitments?
Armstrong:
Associations like FIA and IFBA are critical to bringing together the industry to collectively respond to health and wellness issues. They help align the food industry around a comprehensive framework to address health and wellness concerns and guide the overall response of the industry, which individual companies can then meet or build upon.


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