Chocolate Giant Changing Emphasis to Health Industry and Healthier Foods

For many years, nutritionists and others in the health industry have talked about the major food groups.

Per The Food Guide Pyramid published by the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion of the US Department of Agriculture, this is the current food groups and pyramid to govern your eating habits.

1- Bread Cereal, Rice, & Pasta Group

2- Fruit Group

3- Vegetable Group

4- Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs, & Nuts Group

5- Milk, Yogurt, & Cheese Group

6- Fats, Oils & Sweets

While these are generally the main food groups that most organizations use, they are still missing THE most important food group of all – CHOCOLATE! By itself, chocolate in the most important food group to me and many others that I know. I was once placed on a restrictive diet for a specific medical condition. The diet consisted of no starches like bread, potatoes or rice and no regular tea and no chocolate. It was hard giving up bread, potatoes and rice and converting to green tea was not very pleasant but the hardest part of this diet to follow was no chocolate. After six weeks, I said forget it and that the diet wasn’t worth the sacrifice and the first thing I did was eat a piece of chocolate.

Since I consider chocolate to be the most important food group, I’m interested in what happens with companies like Hershey and Nestle, which is why the recent news about a major shift of emphasis by the Nestle company caught my attention.

In case you were not aware of it, Nestle is the world’s largest company by revenue for packaged food. Among their many products are Stouffer’s frozen TV dinners, Nestle chocolate morsels, Gerber Baby Foods, KitKat, Friskies, Pure Life Bottled Water, Nescafe, Purina, Dreyer’s Ice Cream, Lean Cuisine, Carnation and more.

Starting next week on January 1, 2017, Ulf Mark Schneider will take over the helm of Nestle and help them shift their emphasis into more healthcare products. Schneider comes from 13 years of running Fresenius SE, a large German company that operates hospitals as well as the manufacturing of medical equipment, drugs and nutritional products.

Per a report in the Wall Street Journal:

“In September, Nestlé agreed to buy a British maker of a device to treat dysphagia, a swallowing disorder. Earlier in the year, it teamed up with a U.S. biotech to develop products aimed at restoring bacterial balance in the digestive system. It is also expanding aggressively into ‘medical foods,’ intended to help prevent, treat or manage conditions like metabolism issues, cancer and obesity.”

“The effort has stretched back decades—Nestlé made its first health-care-nutrition investment in 1986—but it has gained more prominence in recent years. In 2010, Nestlé promised to “be a pioneer in the new industry that we are helping to shape in the space between a fast-moving consumer-goods company and a pharma company.” It created a separate health-science division the next year and since has made a series of acquisitions aimed at beefing it up. But so far, these haven’t delivered significant sales increases.”

“Last year, Nestlé health-science revenue was about 2 billion Swiss francs ($1.95 billion), or just 2.25% of overall revenue. The unit absorbed Nestlé’s prior health-care-nutrition business, which had sales of 1.6 billion francs in 2009, but is distinct from the much-larger general nutrition business.”

Per Martin Deboo, an analyst:

“Nestlé has some material structural growth problems on things like U.S. prepared meals, ice cream, coffee and confectionery that have manifested themselves in its consistent guidance misses. [Mr. Schneider, he said, will jump-start growth only by] “moving the needle on brands like Nescafé and Maggi, not by repositioning Nestlé as a health company.”

I wish Nestle all the best in their move to further improve and provide healthcare products, just as long as they don’t stop producing my number one food group, chocolate. That would cause a worldwide backlash and boycott by women around the globe, including this one here in northern Kentucky.

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