New data from the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), Silver Spring, Md., shows more than 180,000 consumer goods products were reformulated in 2016, while over 30,000 communities worldwide were involved in industry-led programs that promote healthier diets and lifestyles.

This data is part of the latest CGF Health & Wellness Progress Report, developed in conjunction with Deloitte, New York, which details how its members are working together to empower consumers and employees around the world to live healthier lives.

Results from the survey show that:

  • Over 180,000 products were reformulated, with 75% of responding members confirming they reformulated products. For food and beverage companies, sodium and sugar were most often targeted for removal in reformulation, and whole grains and vitamins were the most common nutrients to be added.
  • More than 30,000 communities were reached through industry-led health and wellness programs, with 72% of responding members having partnered with community stakeholders.
  • Over 386,000 schools were involved in education programs on health and wellness.
  • 93% of respondents said a "strong majority" of employees are eligible for employee health and wellness programs.
  • 44% confirmed they were consulted by national and/or regional governments on the issue of improving health and wellness.

Inspired by CGF members' commitment to being part of the solution to today's biggest health and lifestyle challenges, this member-driven initiative was led by Nestlé USA, Glendale, Calif., and Ahold Delhaize and supported by some of the largest consumer product brands and retailers in the world.

More companies reporting reformulations than ever before

The number of companies reporting in 2016 increased over 30% compared to 2015. With over 100 member companies now reporting on how they are implementing the CGF's Health & Wellness Resolutions and Commitments, it is clear positive actions are being taken by the industry to help address the growing obesity epidemic and increase in non-communicable diseases. However, the report also notes that there is still more to be done in embracing a holistic, industry-wide approach to health and wellness and in contributing to a culture of prevention.

"We recognize that CGF members are making visible efforts to improve the health and wellness of people around the world. That said, this is an ongoing journey, and we strongly encourage all companies to join the collective effort,” says Paul Bulcke, member of the board and chairman designate, Nestlé S.A., and Dick Boer, president and CEO of Ahold Delhaize. Both are also board co-sponsors for the CGF's Health & Wellness Pillar. “The CGF board of directors has long recognized how critical health and wellness are to the stability and prosperity of nations. We have made it one of our priorities, so that we can lead positive action for the benefit of those we serve every day, everywhere."

Implementation challenges a step in the right direction 

The Resolutions and Commitments, approved by the CGF's board of directors in 2011 and 2014, respectively, look at specific areas where retailers and manufacturers can work together to drive positive change and help empower people to make informed choices for healthy diets and lifestyles. While overall results show positive progress, the speed of implementation of these specific targets has proven a challenge.

For instance, 79 companies (77%) reported that they established policies and implemented programs toward at least one of the resolutions, while 55 companies (54%) reported they established policies and implemented programs toward all three resolutions.

"There is a lot to be proud of with regards to the achievements of our members and their commitment to collaboration for healthier lives,” adds Sharon Bligh, director of health and wellness at CGF. “It's clear that larger companies are demonstrating excellent global leadership, but many other companies have only just joined us on our collective journey. The CGF must continue to be the global platform that inspires members to drive positive change and provide necessary support through things like toolkits, case studies and workshops. We are hopeful that the progress being seen now will inspire the entire membership, and more and more members will then contribute to ongoing efforts to share knowledge and best practices, making it even easier for others to follow suit."