Some of the most prominent food companies in New Zealand have made progress on their contribution to resolving obesity, including their commitment on informative food labels.
A University of Auckland study based its finding on 25 large companies, including packaged food and beverage manufacturers, fast-food and supermarket chains. Those who look for a label maker in NZ should know that packaging not only helps in reducing obesity but also serve as a marketing tool.
The Health Research Council funded the study, which also suggested that more remains to be done to bring down obesity rates. Some of the companies with the most progressive efforts included Nestlé, Fonterra, Coca-Cola, Mars and Unilever. Nestlé ranked on top of the others with a score of 75 out of 100, partly because of the changes it had implemented for its products.
Nestlé New Zealand CEO Christian Aboud said that these changes include less sugar and salt for its Cheerios and a wholegrain variant for the Maggi 2 Minute noodles. Aboud added that they are also looking into lowering the serving sizes for other food products.
Around two out of three adult Kiwis are overweight or obese compared to one out of three kids, according to the study. Hence, obesity has become a major health issue in the country. A separate study suggested that income inequality could be a factor for obesity among young people.
While the study remains inconclusive for now, wealthy countries such as New Zealand have a higher rate of obesity that manifests through a higher BMI among people. Obesity particularly affects adolescent girls in developed countries, according to the study.
Food companies can do their part to lower obesity rates by being conscious on their product labels. This will provide consumers with an informed decision on their dietary habits and reduce their risk to obesity.