Nestle baby foods controversy: We never compromise on the nutritional quality of our products, says Nestle India

Public Eye, a Switzerland based advocacy organization, accused Nestle of incorporating sucrose or honey into samples of Nido and Cerelac, after tests were conducted on baby food products distributed in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

By  Storyboard18Apr 18, 2024 3:01 PM
Nestle baby foods controversy: We never compromise on the nutritional quality of our products, says Nestle India
Tests on Cerelac products available in India showed an average of over 2.7g of added sugar per serving.

Global foods major Nestlé found itself in headlines across the world for the sugar content in its baby food sold in developing countries. In a recent report, Public Eye, a Switzerland based advocacy organization, accused Nestle of incorporating sucrose or honey into samples of Nido, a milk formula for infants aged one and above, and Cerelac, a widely popular cereal for children aged between six months and two years.

The information was revealed when Public Eye and IBFAN (International Baby Food Action Network) sent samples on Nestle’s baby food products to a lab in Belgium for testing. The tests were conducted on Nestle's baby food products distributed in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

Tests on Cerelac products available in India showed an average of over 2.7g of added sugar per serving.

Public Eye said that Cerelac wheat-based cereals, made for six month old infants that are sold by Nestle in Germany, France and the UK, do not contain any additional sugar. On the other hand, the same product sold in Ethiopia contains more than 5g per serving and in Thailand, contains 6 grams per serving.

In India Cerelac is the highest selling cereal-based product meant for infants. In 2022, Cerelac sales of Nestle India surpassed $250 million. Cerelac has a worldwide sales of $1 billion.

Similarly, tests on Nido brand products, with global retail sales exceeding $1 billion, exhibited considerable variation in sugar levels across countries. The WHO (World Health Organisation) cautions that introducing sugar to infants early on may cause a lasting inclination towards sweet items, increasing chances of obesity among other ailments. Furthermore, in 2022, WHO asked that supplementary sugars and sweetening agents in food items for infants be prohibited. It asked the sector to take initiative by revamping its offerings.

On the recent reports on the issue of added sugar in its nutrition products, a Nestlé India spokesperson shared the following statement with Storyboard18:

We would like to assure you that our Infant Cereal products, are manufactured to ensure the appropriate delivery of nutritional requirements such as Protein, Carbohydrates, Vitamins, Minerals, Iron etc. for early childhood. We never compromise and will never compromise on the nutritional quality of our products. We constantly leverage our extensive Global Research and Development network to enhance the nutritional profile of our products.

Compliance is an essential characteristic of Nestlé India and we will never compromise on that. We also ensure that our products manufactured in India are in full and strict compliance with CODEX standards (a commission established by WHO and FAO) and local specifications (as required) pertaining to the requirements all nutrients including added sugars.

Reduction of added sugars is a priority for Nestlé India. Over the past 5 years, we have already reduced added sugars by up to 30%, depending on the variant. We regularly review our portfolio and continue to innovate and reformulate our products to further reduce the level of added sugars, without compromising on nutrition, quality, safety, and taste.

Nestlé India is committed to delivering the best nutrition to our consumers, which we have been doing for over 100 years and would always maintain highest standards of Nutrition, Quality and Safety in our products.


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First Published on Apr 18, 2024 3:01 PM

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