Grocery retailers ramp up health focus

SumoSalad-store-interior-workerFood companies and grocery retailers are stepping up their efforts to tackle obesity, according to a new global report by Deloitte.

The report, which is based on a global survey of 83 retailers and consumer goods manufacturers of which 45 per cent are based here in Asia-Pacific, revealed there was more reporting from personal care companies on the reformulation of products including parabens, phthalates, microbeads and fragrances.

Respondents, which represent a collective value of more than US$3 trillion in revenues and impact billions of lives on a daily basis, have declared partnering with over 527,000 schools, a 37 per cent increase from 2016.

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

Unhealthy lifestyles leading to diseases, 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.

“But we can change that future outlook,” said Matthijssen. “And food companies and grocery retailers are stepping up to take this challenge on by changing their practices and empowering their consumers to be healthier.”

Matthijssen said they have seen an increase in ‘better for you’ and healthier products and a sharp rise in the number of start-ups in Australia that are focussed on healthy food.

“We are also seeing food retailers dedicating a significant increase in shelf space in their stores to fresh and healthier products.

“It’s encouraging to see 45 per cent of the respondents in this research are headquartered in Asia-Pacific,” Matthijssen said. “It shows our region is engaged when it comes to improving our health and many are choosing to take a leading position in the prevention of obesity and unhealthy lifestyles. The same is true for many of our Australian companies.”

Matthijssen said more CEOs have started to take personal responsibility to actively drive changes in their product portfolio and company practices.

“They see the opportunity to lead on a key social issue and in doing so secure the long-term growth of their company whilst driving social progress.”

About 58 per cent of respondents have also participated in food bank programs, with 180 million meals distributed and over 77,000 tonnes of food donated.




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