How Nestlé is boosting healthier and happier lives in Central and West Africa

Enabling healthier and happier lives supports the company’s purpose which is: enhancing the quality of life and contributing to a healthier future. We live in times of immense challenge, unprecedented change and extraordinary possibility leading to changes in lifestyle and the increased public health concerns.

All over the world, people strive to enjoy healthy and fulfilling lives, sometimes in difficult situations. At Nestlé, we touch billions of lives worldwide; from the farmers we work with to the individuals and families who enjoy our products, the communities where we live and work, and the natural environment upon which we all depend. Their challenges are our challenges. Their success is success in which we all share.

In our efforts to create more awareness on the importance health and nutrition, we support individuals and their families with tastier and healthier food choices, inspiring people to lead healthier lives, and building, sharing and applying nutrition knowledge.

This is now more important than ever as non-communicable diseases such as stroke, cancer and diabetes are on the rise and continuing to affect the health of Africans across the region due to unhealthy diets and physical inactivity.

Nestlé’s efforts are part of its three long-term ambitions and 42 commitments, in support of the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which were recently announced in the new report ‘Nestlé in society: Creating Shared Value and meeting our commitments 2016’. The company’s efforts also aim to contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goal 3 to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”.

Diets in some African countries can lack diversity, resulting in meals that often include a limited range of food groups. High salt levels in Africans’ diets, which increase blood pressure, are also common as salt is used to preserve foods and add taste.

World Hypertension Day

Nestlé CWAR’s latest initiatives and campaigns highlight the importance of this year’s World Hypertension Day on May 17, which aims to spotlight, prevent and control this silent killer. This year’s theme, Know Your Numbers, looks to increase high blood pressure awareness worldwide.

To help to increase awareness on nutrition related diseases, the company commits to nutrition education, providing information on labels packaging materials to help make informed choices.

Cutting down on salt

Nestlé is committed to addressing this by reducing sugar, salt and fat as a way of providing healthier and tastier choices.

So far, it has reduced the sodium content of its products to help people achieve a salt intake of 5g each day – as recommended by the World Health Organization.

In Central and West Africa, the company is making steady progress on its social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+., and also engages the public health community on collaborative ways for multi-stakeholder action.

Since 2010 to date, Nestlé CWAR has been also working with the Ministry of Cameroon to improve the nutritional status of people in the country by running workshops on food fortification and non-communicable diseases.

It continues to raise awareness on hypertension and diabetes among Nestlé employees, and is carrying out diabetes and cholesterol testing at its sites in the region.

Less salt in products

Nestlé is also continuing to invest in the innovation and renovation of its product portfolio to enhance nutritional value, while improving taste.

In 2016, 100% of its products in CWAR were assessed and met all of the Nestlé Nutritional Foundation (NF) criteria in providing nutritionally sound products for children, including the criteria for salt, sugars and saturated fats.

Informed choices

Nestlé CWAR is also helping people make informed choices by committing to apply and explain nutritional information on packs, at point of sale and online.

Guideline Daily Amount (GDA) based labels are also helping inform Africans about calories, sugars, fat and other nutrients in a food or beverage serving, with reference to daily guidelines.

Nutrition education

To enhance healthier habits, Nestlé has pledged to promote healthy cooking, eating and lifestyles, aiming to double the outreach of these efforts for individuals, families and their pets by 2020.

The company is already engaging with millions of Africans through a number of education programmes, such as Maggi Cooking Caravans, which are currently travelling across the region.

Millions of people and women sellers, called Maggi mammies, are already benefiting from the initiative as they are learning about the importance of balanced nutrition and cooking safety through interactive cooking demonstrations, women’s forums, group discussions and presentations on micronutrient fortification. They then pass this knowledge and expertise on to consumers.

In Nigeria, Maggi alsoreached over 15,000 women through its Maggi home garden initiative to teach women about the importance of nutrition, health and wellness through activities such as cultivating home-grown vegetables.

Teaching kids about healthy lifestyles

Nestlé CWAR is continuing to make headway by running the Nestlé Healthy Kids Programme in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal to teach schoolchildren about healthy lifestyles.

It is working with Ministries of Education and Health, NGOs, academic bodies and nutrition health institutes to help children, their families and teachers understand more about healthy eating habits and hydration, increased physical activity and good hygiene.

So far, the company has reached about 91,000 children in CWAR since 2011 to date. By 2018, it aims to reach 100,000 children.

Read more about our work on enhancing healthier lives in the Nestlé in society global report 2016 (English PDF).

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