Nestle India to Reduce added Sugars in Infant Cereals Following a Media Expose

By Consultants Review Team Thursday, 18 April 2024

The India division of packaged goods giant Nestle said that it has cut added sugars in its infant cereal line by up to 30% over the past five years after a news report said the business added sugar and honey to its infant milk and cereal range offered in low- and middle-income countries.

The UK's Guardian news outlet revealed on Wednesday the conclusions of Public Eye, a Swiss investigative group, claiming that Nestle had added sugar to its Nido and Cerelac product lines, which are sold in Latin America, Asia, and Africa.

"We believe in the nutritional quality of our products for early childhood and prioritize using high-quality ingredients," a Nestle India spokeswoman stated on Wednesday. In our portfolio of baby cereals, Nestlé India has lowered added sugar content by up to 30% over the last five years, depending on the variety.

The representative stated, "We continuously innovate and reformulate our products to further reduce added sugars without compromising on quality, safety, or taste. We review our portfolio on a regular basis."

The International Baby Food Action Network (IBAN) and Public Eye conducted an investigation into the company's practices. The investigation revealed that Nestlé's Cerelac wheat-based cereals for six-month-old babies are sold without added sugar in Germany and the UK, but contain over five grams of sugar per serving in Ethiopia and six grams in Thailand.

The same product is said to have 2.2 grams of sugar per serving in India. According to Public Eye, "all Cerelac baby cereals in India, where sales surpassed $250 million in 2022, contain added sugar, on average nearly 3 grams per serving." Within this range, the company offers 15 products for sale nationwide.

When informed of the results, World Health Organisation (WHO) scientist Nigel Rollins stated, "There is a double standard here that can't be justified." Rollins believes that it is "problematic both from a public health and ethical perspective" that Nestlé adds sugar to these goods in poorer resource situations yet does not do so in Switzerland, according to Public Eye.

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