Children's health and food Good Food Programme

A manufacturer’s perspective – Bettina Abruzzese, Head of Public Affairs at Danone

Bettina Abruzzese, Head of Public Affairs at Healthy Nutrition, Danone UK and Ireland shares her perspective on the food industry

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Danone in the UK & Ireland is a nutrition-focused business with a food and beverage portfolio of a health-oriented mix of yogurts, beverages and plant-based food and drinks. Danone is a B Corp and a global company employing 100,000 people with a presence in six continents.

“At Danone, we offer everyone healthy food and drink choices every day and develop products which provide more tailored nutrition at all stages of life. We lead in numerous categories with the help of our best-known global brands – like Evian, Activia, Actimel and Alpro, which together place us in the top 10 branded food and beverage companies in the UK and Ireland.

“Health – first and foremost – is our purpose, uniting us and guiding our decision-making. We stand for delivering better health through better nutrition for people in a sustainable way.

“We know that the health of people and the planet is interconnected, so we’re also taking action to ensure a sustainable future for our communities – whether that is by making our packaging circular, reducing carbon emissions, or working with government to promote healthy and sustainable diets.

“Danone has a number of core beliefs about healthy food and drink, which we have developed and agreed within the last year and will now drive our decisions and actions. They are:

  • Eating and drinking should be enjoyable
  • Nutrition is about making a positive contribution to health and wellbeing
  • People are not all the same
  • Everyone has the right to information to help them make healthier and informed choices

“These beliefs will inform our innovation plans, and provide the framework for everything we do – and everything we offer – to consumers across the UK and Ireland. Our nutritional targets provide specific objectives for product renovation and innovation. They are based on nutrition science, and take into account technical feasibility and how to bring consumers on an acceptance journey.

“As a critical health factor, the nutritional value of food products is of growing concern to both consumers and regulators. We are constantly striving to promote healthier and more nutritious offerings notably by working to lower our products’ sugar and fat intakes. We now seek to further strengthen our healthy portfolio, as we use our scale and influence to make a real – and much needed – transformation, working in coalition with governments, retailers and the food and drink sector. A key coalition that we co-chair is the Collaboration For Healthier Lives UK.

“As part of our ongoing commitment to health, Danone is already working with a number of like-minded partners, including NGOs, to promote responsible commitments. What we would really like to do now is both broaden this list of partnerships out and do more impactful collaborations in their ambition and in their scale.

“So, we now appeal to others: Danone believes that it is down to us – purpose-led food companies – to provide consumers with healthy products and drive a positive change. Join with us in pledging to help get these products in the baskets of more consumers, and let’s make it a reality!”

Key takeaways

  • Core beliefs on health can inform the decisions and actions companies take to innovate and frame their offering to consumers.
  • Collaboration across companies, retailers, NGOs, and government is a key supporting action necessary to drive transformation.