Updated April 29th, 2024 at 16:14 IST

Nestle defends infant food formulation amid allegations of racial stereotyping

Addressing concerns about sugar in infant foods, MD clarified that amount of added sugar is carefully regulated to meet the nutrition needs of infants.

Reported by: Business Desk
Nestle India | Image:Nestle India

Nestle India's Chairman and Managing Director, Suresh Narayanan, stood firm on Monday in response to allegations that the company's infant food formulation perpetuated racial stereotypes, asserting that the formulation process is conducted on a global basis and refuting claims of any discriminatory practices.

Speaking to reporters, Narayanan stressed that Nestle's infant food formulation for children below 18 months is determined universally, taking into account nutritional profiles and requirements specific to various age groups. He dismissed claims that the formulation targeted specific racial or ethnic groups as "unfortunate" and baseless.


Addressing concerns about sugar content in Nestle's infant foods, Narayanan clarified that the amount of added sugar is carefully regulated to meet the nutrition needs of infants while adhering to regulatory standards. He highlighted that the added sugar content in Cerelac, one of Nestle's prominent infant food products, falls well below the limits set by the Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).

Contrary to recent accusations by Swiss NGOs, Public Eye and the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN), Narayanan stressed that Nestle's formulation process is uniform across regions and not tailored to specific geographic markets. He delved that formulations are based on global standards and are not influenced by factors such as race or ethnicity.


Responding to allegations of selling products with higher sugar content in less developed countries, Narayanan reiterated that every formulation for infant food is developed globally and tailored to meet the nutritional needs of growing children. He stressed that the Codex Alimentarius standards, established by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, guide Nestle's formulation process to ensure compliance with international norms.

Regarding the scrutiny from the FSSAI regarding sugar content in Cerelac, Narayanan assured that Nestle is committed to transparency and regulatory compliance. He acknowledged that the FSSAI has requested information on the sugar content, and Nestle is cooperating fully with the regulatory authority.


Highlighting Nestle's efforts to reduce sugar content in its infant food products, Narayanan noted a 30 per cent reduction in added sugar over the past five years. He affirmed Nestle's commitment to further reducing sugar content to meet evolving nutritional standards and consumer preferences.

Looking ahead, Narayanan underlined Nestle's objective of developing infant food products that align with global standards while catering to local nutritional requirements. He emphasized the importance of trust and confidence in the regulatory process and reiterated Nestle's commitment to providing safe and nutritious products for infants in India.


The Indian baby food and infant formula market has witnessed significant growth in recent years, with Nestle competing alongside other major players such as Danone, Abbott, and Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation. As Nestle continues to navigate challenges and allegations, its commitment to regulatory compliance and consumer safety remains paramount in the competitive infant food market.

(With PTI inputs)


Published April 29th, 2024 at 16:14 IST