Empowering Healthy Consumers Globally

A Report from The Consumer Goods Forum

Confirming the excellent progress made by the food industry on its commitment to improve global health, The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) reports the results of its second annual member survey. The survey has been designed to capture the progress of CGF’s members on their resolutions to Health & Wellness. These resolutions, made back in 2011, aim to improve the health and wellness of consumers, employees, their families and the communities they serve. The results prove that the industry has been proactive in its efforts and have taken transformational actions that were vital in bringing positive change to the lives of consumers around the world.

While this excellent progress is worth celebrating, it must be acknowledged that worldwide obesity still remains a significant challenge. Globally, obesity rates have nearly doubled since 1980 and half the world is expected to be obese by 2050. These are daunting statistics, however, as the survey results show, the food industry is taking proactive measures to address them. Members of the CGF are continuously engaged with multiple stakeholders across their individual and collaborative initiatives to support healthier diets and lifestyles and regional groups like FIA are helping to cascade and localise their commitments.

With over seven billion people on the planet and over 100 million employees involved in the supply chain, the consumer goods industry is galvanising a collective movement to play a role in helping improve the lives of consumers all over the world. The private sector needs to be a part of a multi-stakeholder solution to tackle a global problem and the findings of the survey show that the work undertaken by leading companies are starting to have a positive impact.

The Key Findings of the Survey are:

  • 95% of respondents have established policies on at least one of the CGF Health & Wellness Resolutions.
  • 78% of respondents are communicating publicly on at least one of the Resolutions.
  • 97% of respondents have activated programmes on at least one of the Resolutions.
  • 98 million children reached through healthy diet and lifestyle promotions in partnerships with schools.
  • 89 million individuals reached through partnerships with healthcare professionals.
  • Respondents have formulated or reformulated more than 22,500 products to support healthier diets and lifestyles.
  • Over 66% of respondents have completed three of the four Commitments.

Gareth Ackerman, Chairman, Pick n Pay Stores and Denise Morrison, President & CEO, Campbell Soup Company, said, “The results are promising. It's clear that members of the CGF are actively engaging with multiple stakeholders across their initiatives to support healthy diets and lifestyles. We are also pleased to see an extremely high percentage of respondents have established policies and activated programmes on one or more of the CGF’s Health & Wellness Resolutions. Industry can and should play a leading role in addressing this major global challenge and opportunity”.

Dick Boer, CEO of Royal Ahold and Paul Bulcke, CEO of Nestlé S.A. and Co-Chairs of The Consumer Goods Forum, said, “As retailers and manufacturers we believe that we have an obligation to help consumers and shoppers make informed decisions. With this in mind, we aim to give practical support and provide tools to inspire our diverse membership to drive health and wellness benefits to consumers around the world. We understand the complexity of the health and wellness challenges facing communities across the globe and how no single solution or organisation can stimulate the adoption of healthier lifestyles, but we hope this report will help galvanise the industry into taking collective action for a positive change”.

The Power of Collaboration

It is evident from these survey results that Collaboration is Key. The Consumer Goods Forum remains a unique organisation in its capacity to bring together both retailers and manufacturers on a global scale. The survey provides a unique insight into where the industry is, in its collective decision to have a positive impact on the global health agenda and better meet the needs of the global population.

However, it must be acknowledged that the challenge of health and wellness is far too complex and the scope far too broad to be handled by one sector or entity. The report recognises that a collective approach to health and wellness is likely to be the most effective in the long term, and will help accelerate positive actions. For instance, last year, the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) surveyed the impact of a wide range of interventions for abatement of obesity, and concluded that while effective change is possible, public-private partnerships and aligned incentives are mission critical.

For CGF, increased engagement amongst members of the food industry, and more collaborative efforts with strategic partners such as Food Industry Asia (FIA) remains highly important in the mission to drive positive change globally. As part of this commitment, the CGF, supported by its members, is currently looking at how to scale up community programmes to promote active healthy living.

Only by working together, and harnessing the power and collective drive of all stakeholders - manufacturers, retailers, government, NGOs, educators, community leaders, and employers - can the shared vision for improved global health be achieved.

The Journey Ahead

The survey results and accompanying report are part of a longer journey for The Consumer Goods Forum. Members of the CGF have made public resolutions and commitments, and the Secretariat remains committed to the process of measuring and reporting on progress and sharing this data annually. The CGF will also focus on its five-year plan on maximising the potential of its diverse membership in support of the WHO Action Plan on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) at a global, regional, and community level. These actions will focus on:

  • Accelerating engagement with CGF members and strategic alliances to drive widespread adoption of the Health & Wellness Resolutions and Commitments.
  • Establishing metrics of success and an externally audited mechanism for monitoring and reporting progress.
  • Creating a signature programme, “Consumer Goods for Better Lives”, to stimulate health and wellness and contribute to the global health agenda in line with the overall vision of The Consumer Goods Forum.

This effort will include an online platform of innovative examples and “how-to” measures that the industry can refer to for guidance on implementing the Resolutions and Commitments. This digital toolkit will be an important platform that will provide access to important information which can support the food industry’s role in this movement with minimal barriers.

Furthermore, CGF announced earlier this year, that an external scientific advisory council, comprised of experts from academia, was formed to provide further guidance on the valuable programmes aimed at improving global health. The CGF Health & Wellness Pillar will also provide a neutral platform to leverage the network of science to ensure that the progress of the industry remains on course and in-tune with the needs of today’s global populations.

The challenge of consumer health and wellbeing presents every company with an opportunity to show that it is forward thinking, to build the trust of consumers, and to demonstrate it is engaged in helping consumers, shoppers and employees to live better lives. Through its collective efforts, alliances such as CGF can help provide platforms for the food industry to scale up its progress in bettering the lives of all consumers globally.

About The Consumer Goods Forum

The Consumer Goods Forum (“CGF”) is a global, parity-based industry network that is driven by its members. It brings together the CEOs and senior management of some 400 retailers, manufacturers, service providers, and other stakeholders across 70 countries, and it reflects the diversity of the industry in geography, size, product category and format. Its member companies have combined sales of EUR 2.5 trillion and directly employ nearly 10 million people, with a further 90 million related jobs estimated along the value chain. It is governed by its Board of Directors, which comprises 50 manufacturer and retailer CEOs.

The CGF’s mission is, “Bringing together consumer goods manufacturers and retailers in pursuit of business practices for efficiency and positive change across our industry benefiting shoppers, consumers and the world without impeding competition”. It provides a unique global platform for the development of global industry processes and standards as well as sharing best practices. Its activities are organised around the following strategic priorities: Sustainability, Product Safety, Health & Wellness, and End-to-End Value Chain & Standards, each of which is central to better serving consumers.

The CGF’s success is driven by the active participation of its members who together develop and lead the implementation of best practices along the value chain. For more information, please visit: www.theconsumergoodsforum.com.

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