Accra, Nov. 17, GNA – Nestlé Research and Development (R and D) Centre in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, has expressed commitment to tackle diabetes and other non-communicable disease in Africa.
A statement signed by Joëlle Abega-Oyouomi, in charge of Manufacturing Services at Nestle Central and West African Region and copied to the Ghana News Agency said in a region where non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes, are increasingly affecting the health of Africans due to unhealthy diets and lack of exercise, “we are looking to encourage people to lead healthier lifestyles through our scientific expertise and knowledge.
“As the first centre of its kind in Africa, R and D Centre in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, aims to become a centre of excellence in five areas.
“These include plant science, tropical agronomy and bio-fortification; African consumer understanding; extrusion and roller drying technology, packaging design adapted to local needs; and nutritional product and ingredient development for the region.”
The statement said R and D Abidjan supports Nestlé through product development. “We are focusing on product reformulation to meet the needs and tastes of Africans by using product fortification to tackle micronutrient deficiencies such as iron, zinc and vitamin A.
“We are also using bio-fortification, in which nutrient-rich conventionally bred crops are crossbred with high-yield varieties to produce high-yielding, nutritious crops as ingredients for our products.
“Innovation and renovation secondly, we are also renovating and innovating our products such as cereal brand Golden Morn to reduce salt and sugar without compromising on taste. “In 2015, we released the new Golden Morn recipe. It is now 14 per cent lower in salt and achieves the Nestlé Nutritional Foundation (NF) criteria in providing nutritionally sound products for children.
“We also believe it is our responsibility to provide African families with the nutrition information and advice they need to help them make healthier diet choices.
“We offer nutritional information on our products packs in the form of Guideline Daily Amount (GDA) labelling.
“At the end of 2015, 53 per cent of our products had GDA labelling on the front of the pack, up by 14 per cent in comparison to 2014 and aim to have 100 per cent of our products GDA labelled.”
It said R and D aims to promote good nutrition and healthy lifestyles by launching education programmes together with governments, organisations, healthcare professionals and experts.
“In 2012, our company teamed up with the International Diabetes Federation, whose mission is to advance diabetes care, prevention and a cure worldwide.
“The partnership has explored potential synergies with the Nestlé Healthy Kids Global Programme, which is currently running in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal to promote healthy lifestyles to schoolchildren.
“We are working with our partners, universities and the Ministries of Health and Education in the countries to boost the initiative.
“So far, we have reached about 81,000 children and 1,200 teachers in CWAR.
“We have also partnered with the Ministry of Health in Cameroon to raise awareness on hypertension and diabetes among Nestlé employees,” the statement said.
It said in 2015, the company launched the ‘Healthy Living Africa’ campaign to help people cut salt in their diets, and introduced a salt campaign in Cameroon on the health risks of excessive salt consumption in the same year.
“Our work at R and D Abidjan not only demonstrates our commitment to Africa; it also shows that we are committed to helping people in the region – and worldwide – to continue leading healthier lives,” the statement said.