Investors push for food disclosure

Investors push
Nestle, Danone, Kraft Heinz and Kellogg are amongst food producers that have been pushed by investors set out new disclosures and targets on wellbeing.

The global coalition of investors managing $3tr have written to the companies on the occasion of their annual general meetings, calling for greater ambition on the health profile of their sales portfolios. The investors signing all four letters include large asset managers such as Legal & General Investment Management and BMO Global Asset Management, smaller ethical funds like Castlefield Investment Partners and Rathbone Greenbank Investments; pension funds including the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum and Northern LGPS, and retail sustainable investing platforms like Grünfin.

The investor action follows a shareholder resolution filed at Unilever in January. Investors withdrew the resolution after Unilever agreed to disclose the share of food and drink sales made up of ‘healthier’ products, as defined by government-endorsed nutrient profiling models, and to set a long-term target and a strategy to significantly increase that share.
ShareAction, which co-ordinated the letters, has been facilitating private engagement between its Healthy Markets investor coalition and major food and drink manufacturers, with the aim to improve the health of their consumers. The letters contrasted the companies’ disclosure of the health profile of their products, using their own definitions, with an independent assessment by the Access to Nutrition Initiative (ATNI), the benchmarking organisation for food companies and their investors.

Ignacio Vazquez, senior manager, ShareAction, said: “Regulatory trends, as well as consumer support for healthier products, mean that food businesses must consider health as an increasingly material risk factor. Investors need companies to use standardised health metrics to determine their exposure to regulatory risk and their position relative to competitors on this issue. In line with their ambition to be leaders in nutrition and health, we are calling on these food companies to follow Unilever in committing to greater disclosure around their sales of healthier products and to increase their ambitions in this area.”

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