Nestle ahead in product enhancement program

by Eric Schroeder
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VEVEY, SWITZERLAND — Nestle S.A. said it has conducted in depth evaluations of products generating 36.4 billion Swiss francs ($43.6 billion) in sales (a third of the company’s total sales) with consumers over the past three years as part of a global strategy to enhance nutritional value while improving taste.

In assessing its products Nestle is implementing what it calls its “60/40+” program. The program requires that at least 60% of a large consumer sample prefer a Nestle product to a direct competitor’s in a blind taste test, and that, where relevant, the product provides an additional nutritional “plus” based on criteria recommended by nutrition and health authorities.

“We employ the 60/40+ program to deliver on both taste and nutrition,” said Sanjay Sehgal, head of Nestle’s Corporate Wellness unit. “Since it began, more than half a million consumers have helped to shape our products by participating in testing.

“From 2003 onwards, Nestle was the first company in the food industry to put comprehensive policies in place for the systematic reduction of specific nutrients that are considered to be detrimental to health when consumed in excess, and also to offer consumers more essential nutrients or nutritious ingredients.”

Through the 60/40+ program Nestle said it has reduced trans fatty acids, salt, sugar and saturated fats in products across its worldwide food and beverage portfolio.

New products introduced in 2010 as part of the 60/40+ program included Maggi Masala-ae-Magic spice mix in India and Uncle Toby’s Fruit Fix in Australia. The spice mix includes iron, iodine and vitamin A, while the fruit snack provides schoolchildren with one serving of fruit and a source of vitamin C, fiber and folate.

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