Dublin, 27 February 2023 - Danone, the health-focused food and beverage company, has today announced new health commitments for its dairy, plant-based and water categories in Ireland:
• The company has committed that at least 90%1 of its product portfolio by sales volume will not be high in sugar, salt or fat (HFSS) as defined by current UK policy and legislation and referred to by relevant authorities* in Ireland.
• Using this definition, Danone Ireland has also committed that it will never produce a product high in sugar, salt, or fat (HFSS) for children.
• The company has also committed that at least 90% of its portfolio will be rated as “healthy” – receiving a score of at least 3.5 stars out of 5 – within the Health Star Rating Index. The Health Star Rating Index is a rating system which rates the overall nutritional profile of packaged food, and provides a quick, easy, standard way to compare foods.
The announcement comes at a time when health is the most important consideration for over half of Irish consumers (51%), with 62% agreeing they are eating more healthily than they have in the past. Consumers are also concerned with the sugar and fat content in products, regularly or occasionally buying these low or no sugar options (80%) or low-fat options (75%).
As part of the commitments, Danone Ireland has also confirmed its intention to implement clear, consistent front-of-pack nutritional labelling. It will transparently publish nutritional data for its portfolio, using the Health Star Rating Index system and UK Government’s HFSS guidelines (which are referred to by relevant authorities in Ireland) as benchmarks - alongside product nutritional information - on its website. It will also confirm ongoing compliance with its own commitments.
Commenting, Killian Barry, Managing Director of Danone Ireland said, “I’m proud to announce these commitments which align with our mission at Danone to bring health through food to as many people as possible. With these commitments, we are setting out our ambition as a purposeful business, to help improve the health of the nation. At a time when both obesity and malnutrition are major concerns in Ireland, we believe this is the right thing to do.”
As part of its ongoing commitment to health, Danone is already working with several like-minded partners including retailers and NGOs, and will continue to promote the importance of healthy, sustainable diets across industry in Ireland and beyond. These ambitious commitments are the new minimum threshold to which Danone Ireland’s consumer brands in its dairy, plant-based and water categories, including Alpro, Activia, Light & Free, Actimel, Volvic and evian, will be held.
Note to Editors
*The Advertising Authority for Ireland has adopted the UK definition of HFSS for application in Ireland as part of its Code and Guidance on HFSS food and non-alcoholic beverages marketing communications.
These health commitments cover Danone's dairy, plant-based and water products. Its specialised nutrition products, including infant formula, young child formula and medical nutrition are not included. This is because of the very specific nutritional needs of consumers and patients in those categories.
The commitments apply to Danone across the Ireland and UK region.
1 Percentage calculated on one year of sales (Oct 2021-Sept-22). The number includes the recipes reformulated in September 2022, combined with sales for a year. This means that SKUs reformulated to be non HFSS within the period (Oct 2021-Sept 22) has been captured in the % non HFSS. The number assumes that post-reformulation sales remain at same levels and that mix for total portfolio also remains the same.
2 Latest Kantar TGI Irish Consumer Data, October 2022
About Danone Ireland
Danone is a leading health-focused food and beverage company dedicated to bringing health through food to as many people as possible. With manufacturing supply points in Macroom, Co. Cork and Rocklands, Wexford, Danone employs more than 740 people in Ireland. Danone’s portfolio of market-leading food and drink products supports the health of millions of consumers and patients throughout all stages of their lives, and includes leading brands such as Actimel, Activia, Alpro, evian and Volvic. Danone is also a leading provider of specialised and early-life nutrition products and services through its Nutricia, Aptamil and Cow&Gate brands. In the UK and Ireland, more than five million people are eating or drinking one of Danone’s products every day. In 2022, Danone became one of the largest B Corps in the UK & Ireland. For more information, please visit https://www.danone.ie
About the Health Star Rating Index
The Health Star Rating assesses the overall nutritional profile of packaged food and assigns it a rating from ½ a star to 5 stars. It provides a quick, easy, standard way to compare similar packaged foods. The more stars, the healthier the choice. The Health Star Rating system was developed by the Australian, state and territory governments in collaboration with industry, public health and consumer groups. The threshold of “healthy” being set at 3.5 or above (≥3.5 HSR) is based on work commissioned by the New South Wales Ministry of Health in Australia, which concluded that “healthy core foods with a HSR of ≥3.5 can be confidently promoted in public settings as healthier choices.”
Reference: Dunford, E., Cobcroft, M., Thomas, M., Wu, J.H. (2015). Technical Report: Alignment of the NSW Healthy Food Provision Policy with the Health Star Rating System. Available at: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/heal/Publications/health-star-rating-system.pdf
ATNI (Access to Nutrition) uses the government-recommended threshold of 3.5 stars or more to classify products as generally healthier.
Danone UK & Ireland is referring to HFSS as defined by the UK Government’s current (January 2023) policy and legislation. Foods that would fall within the HFSS category include high fat, salt, sugar versions of soft drinks, drinks with added sugars, cakes, confectionery including chocolates and sweets cereals, pastries, ice cream, pizza, chips and prepared meals.