Nestlé Wants You to Think It’s a ‘Health and Wellness’ Company—But 70% of Its Products Are Junk Food

As Nestlé seeks to become a global leader in food allergy treatments and personalized vitamins, the world’s largest food company hasn’t really changed — 70% of its products are junk food.

Story at-a-glance:

  • Nestlé’s former chief executive called it a “nutrition, health and wellness company.” Yet as the company seeks to be a global leader in food allergy treatments and looks forward to launching a personalized line of vitamins, 70% of their products are junk food.
  • The food industry has a history of confusing consumers, using strong PR campaigns that call “processed food” a misunderstood term, hiding behind the science propaganda of the ILSI and using illegal tactics to achieve their goals.
  • After a boycott and bad press caused the Grocery Manufacturers Association to lose membership, they regained standing in the industry by simply changing their name to Consumer Brands Association in 2020.
  • No matter how much renovating, reconfiguring or reprogramming manufacturers do to junk food ingredients or processing, the products will never be a healthy alternative food source. They are large contributors to obesity, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease and may increase the risk of bone fractures.

In recent decades, the food system has dramatically changed, which in turn has impacted food safety and human health. Company documents from Nestlé, one of the largest food manufacturers, reveal 70% of its products are junk foods. Vegetable oils and changes in how cerealssalads and meats are grown have dramatically altered the overall safety and nutrition of most people’s diets.

Americans spend 57.9% of their food budget on ultra-processed foods, like those produced by Nestlé. This means more than half of what the average person in America eats are foods that can be purchased in a local gas station or convenience store.

Ultra-processed foods often have added sugar and account for 89.7% of added sugar in the diet, while coming from an industry with a long history of intentionally confusing consumers. It’s crucial to be informed and vote for your beliefs on state and federal ballots, and with your pocketbook when choosing your food.

Nestlé health and wellness claims are false

Former Nestlé chief executive Peter Brabeck-Letmathe characterized Nestlé as a “nutrition, health and wellness company.” Yet 70% of the overall products produced by the company are junk foods.

The Financial Times reported on a presentation sent to top executives of Nestlé Corporation in 2021. In the presentation, Nestlé acknowledged only 37% of their food and drink revenues ranked above 3.5 on a 5-star scale using Australia’s Health Stars rating system.

Using the same scale, 96% of all the company’s beverages, excluding pure coffee, and 99% of their confectionery and ice cream products also failed to meet the 3.5-star threshold.

Executives at Nestlé are reportedly considering new commitments to nutrition and updating the internal nutrition standards. Nestlé’s chief executive Mark Schneider said the company recognizes that consumers are looking for healthier diet options and is seeking to become a global leader in food allergy treatments.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Schneider said “processed foods” is a misunderstood term, since when you cook whole foods at home, you’re also processing food, and said, “So processed food per se is not a good or bad thing.” He was excited by the company’s upcoming line of vitamins, saying, “Personalized vitamins, minerals and supplements are going to be the next frontier.”

However, the source of the vitamins, minerals and supplements is crucial to the product’s bioavailability and biochemical properties. Will the vitamins, minerals and supplements from Nestlé follow the same path of many of the company’s other processed foods, filled with sugar and additives?

Outrageously, even with Nestlé’s dismal food and drink portfolio, the Nestlé company ranks highest in efforts to encourage healthier diets across the world’s largest food and drink manufacturers. Financial Times reports Nestlé said:

“In recent years, we have launched thousands of products for kids and families that meet external nutrition yardsticks. We have also distributed billions of micronutrient doses via our affordable and nutritious products.

“We believe that a healthy diet means finding a balance between wellbeing and enjoyment. This includes having some space for indulgent foods, consumed in moderation. Our direction of travel has not changed and is clear: we will continue to make our portfolio tastier and healthier.”