Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


European food firms on top

May 2008

Danone, Nestlé and Unilever are the best large food companies at addressing health concerns.

An analysis of ten of the world’s largest listed food businesses by the JPMorgan bank and the asset manager Insight Investment found the three outperformed all others on issues such as reformulating products to make them healthier, nutrition education and sports programmes, labelling, responsible marketing to children, and making healthy products affordable.

Cadbury, Kelloggs, Kraft and PepsiCo were in the next rank of companies, while Coca-Cola, Heinz and Premier scored poorly in several categories and were judged ‘not to be as fully engaged in many areas as their peers’.

In general, European companies did better than their US counterparts, particularly on obesity, but most businesses lacked a strategic approach with targets, and reporting was patchy.

JPMorgan and Insight said investors were interested in the sector getting to grips with these issues because competitive positioning would enable individual companies to profit from consumer trends. The research was partly based on meetings with company executives.

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