International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 64, Issue 8, pp 1147–1157 | Cite as

Benchmarking the commitments related to population nutrition and obesity prevention of major food companies in New Zealand

  • Apurva Kasture
  • Stefanie VandevijvereEmail author
  • Ella Robinson
  • Gary Sacks
  • Boyd Swinburn
Original article



To benchmark comprehensiveness, specificity and transparency of the nutrition-related commitments of major food companies in New Zealand.


We applied the Business Impact Assessment on Obesity and Population Level Nutrition (BIA-Obesity). The largest 25 New Zealand companies in each of the packaged food (n = 15), non-alcoholic beverage (n = 2), supermarket (n = 2) and quick-service restaurant (n = 6) sectors were selected. Publicly available information on commitments was collected through an online search. Representatives from each company were asked to review and/or supplement the information collected. Commitments were then assessed, and recommendations made at the company and sector levels.


Overall scores ranged from 0 to 75% across all companies with a median score of 38%. The best-performing domain was ‘corporate nutrition strategy’ (median score = 55%), and the worst-performing domain was ‘product accessibility’ (median score = 0%). Twelve out of 25 companies fully engaged with the process.


The comprehensiveness, specificity and transparency of company commitments varied but were low overall. In the absence of strong industry commitments, government regulations, such as restrictions on unhealthy food marketing, are urgently needed. Future assessments should incorporate performance measures.


Food company Accountability Population nutrition Commercial determinants of health Obesity Policy 



GS is the recipient of an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DE160100307) and a Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellowship from the National Heart Foundation of Australia. He is also a researcher within NHMRC Centres for Research Excellence entitled Reducing Salt Intake Using Food Policy Interventions (APP1117300) and a Centre of Research Excellence in Food Retail Environments for Health (APP1152968) (Australia).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee (UAHPEC) (reference number Ref. 018597) and with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 89 kb)
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Supplementary material 2 (PDF 534 kb)
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Supplementary material 3 (DOCX 342 kb)


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Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Apurva Kasture
    • 1
  • Stefanie Vandevijvere
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ella Robinson
    • 2
  • Gary Sacks
    • 2
  • Boyd Swinburn
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Population HealthThe University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.Deakin UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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