More than ever before, we care about the types of food and drink we put into our basket and our bodies. In an age of hashtags and retweets, consumers now have power at their fingertips to affect real change. Consumers are becoming activists for a healthier world, and I believe that FMCGs have a responsibility to respond to consumers’ demand for change and act as bellwethers in the wider health and wellness industries.
Each time you eat and drink, you vote for the world you want to live in and your purchasing choices make also a statement to businesses about the way you want to live your life. And these changes in consumer behaviour are fuelling a health and wellness revolution across the globe.
We are at a Tipping Point
Almost every week one of the global news outlets runs a story that highlights the skyrocketing numbers of diet-related health issues such as obesity and diabetes. In point of fact, over two billion people are considered overweight or obese globally, and diabetes alone is set to rise by 48% by 2045. The associated economic and social burden of public health issues are placing great pressure on governments to reimagine their health systems, and the consumer goods industry has a significant role to play in being part of the solution.
However, it is no secret that younger generations are craving change, with 46% of Millennials are looking for brands that ‘do good’ for the world, demanding increased authenticity, transparency and sustainability in business. In fact, we are entering into a new era wherein people want to play a proactive role in their health and the health of the planet, driven by a sense of responsibility.
It is commonly upheld within our industry that ‘what is good for the consumer is good for business.’ Drawing from this, I believe there is a clear business case to be made for embracing the health and wellness agenda and propelling the revolution forwards, ultimately reinventing the way we consume. Indeed, I believe that sustainability is the new growth model for the 21st century. There is no trade-off between creating value for our business and our communities, but rather the opportunity to drive shared value. It is this philosophy that lies at the very heart of The Consumer Goods Forum’s Health & Wellness Pillar, which aims to provide an eco-system within which to spur healthier consumption, and to embrace a culture of collaboration to drive positive change.
Our Industry as a Force for Good
As we look to transform FMCGs into a force for good, I suggest that we first turn our attention towards our own products, focusing on how we can better ensure that they are good for you and good for the planet. Currently, 88% of all Danone products fall within the healthy categories. Our company have also published our Nutrition Commitments to publicly declare our plans for the continuous improvement of our products. (See also Danone’s goals by 2030).
Furthermore, the second way in which I believe we can promote healthier consumption is through providing the most appropriate product labelling to encourage healthier choices. A model that successfully achieves this for instance is the Nutri Score product-labelling system adopted in France. By adopting similarly effective systems, the FMCG industry can help empower consumers to make healthier choices through equipping them with the necessary insights to do so.
Ultimately, however, if we want to implement change, we need to start with our own people. At Danone we are committed to the development of programs that promote the health and wellbeing of our employees. The Consumer Goods Forum plays a key role in the sharing of insights and best practices to enable every company to join this initiative and to guarantee healthy working environments for all the industry’s employees. This investment is a central part of ensuring the progress of our industry, and The Consumer Goods Forum’s work on Collaboration for Healthier Lives is our foundation.
Acting Together is a Necessity for a Greater Impact at Scale
Certainly, it is essential that we make significant progress with regards to our industry standards and practices to promote healthier consumption, however, this alone is not enough. As FMCGs we can act together, joining forces to achieve the most effective impact.
Together, we can be a catalyst for change, and The Consumer Goods Forum is a unique platform from which we can create a better world. As FMCGs, we have the opportunity to drive change in the store environment and through digital platforms, nudging people towards healthier behaviours. Together, retailers, manufacturers and local stakeholders will have far more impact on consumer health and wellness than if we were to act alone. It is my belief that embracing a multi-stakeholder approach is the best way FMCGs can ensure we learn and maximize our impact in this initiative.
We are entering a new era. Collaboration is the key to best promoting the health and wellness of our consumers. At The Consumer Goods Forum, we are embracing the spirit of collaboration in driving positive change. Together, with The Consumer Goods Forums’ members and key stakeholders, I believe we can drive a new age for our business, and build a healthier world.
This post was written and contributed by:
Alimentation Initiative Catalyst
 World Health Organization, 2018
 BETC Prosumer Study, 2016