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Food companies and grocery retailers stepping up to tackle obesity: report

Results from the latest Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) Health & Wellness Progress Report, prepared in conjunction with Deloitte Global, indicate steady progress is being made by consumer products companies towards the goals set by the organisations for themselves in the global battle to tackle obesity.

The report is based on a global survey of 83 retailers and consumer goods manufacturers of which 45 per cent are based here in Asia-Pacific. The respondents represent a collective value of more than US$3 trillion in revenues and impact billions of lives on a daily basis.

Now in its fifth year, the report details how members of the CGF are working together to empower consumers and employees around the world to live healthier lives. It acknowledges more work remains to be done, and to meet the long-term objective of creating healthier communities, the CGF has committed to strengthen its leadership in the area of health and wellness for the next five years and beyond.

Key findings from the report include  that 88 per cent of companies introduced products that have been formulated and/or reformulated to support healthier diets and lifestyles; and that there was a 12% increase over the last year in the number of companies which are (re)formulating products to include less salt and less sugar.

In addition, there was more reporting from personal care companies on the reformulation of products including parabens, phthalates, microbeads and fragrances. Also,  58 per cent of respondents participated in food bank programmes, with 180 million meals distributed and over 77,000 tonnes of food donated.

“Unhealthy lifestyles leading to diseases such as obesity are huge global problems, not least here in Australia where three out of four adults are predicted to be overweight or obese by 2025 ,” said Vanessa Matthijssen, Deloitte National Consumer Products Leader.

The report also acknowledges the evolving preferences of customers towards retailers who can demonstrate health, transparency, and are aware of their responsibilities and social impact.

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