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Hendrik Born, Managing Director, Danone Southern Africa.
Hendrik Born, Managing Director, Danone Southern Africa.

Danone supports healthy eating, sets new ‘One Planet. One Health’ sustainability goals


Issued by go4word - Sep 14th 2018, 14:01

At its Annual General Meeting this year, Danone introduced a set of nine long-term goals for the company and its brands. Aligned with the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development agenda, the Danone 2030 Goals embed the business, brand and trust models of the company to drive long-term sustainable value creation and deliver the company’s ‘One Planet. One Health’ vision.  

“The health of people and that of the planet are interconnected. Both need to be nourished and protected,” says Hendrik Born, Managing Director of Danone Southern Africa. “We can't create healthy food solutions for people if the ecosystems, social structures and business models we depend on aren't healthy. All are inextricably linked.”

This philosophy is the DNA of the Danone business and it is emphasised at every opportunity, by the Group CEO Emmanuel Faber. He is driving the message on the ‘food revolution’ which simply states that “every time we eat and drink, we vote for the world we live in”.

It makes sound business sense. Born explains: “We see people moving to healthier lifestyles. South African parents have the power to impact the health of their families and the entire nation. That power lies in each daily decision on what to feed a family. With knowledge, each decision can be an incremental step towards a healthier family, a healthier nation and a healthier planet.”

Born continues, “therefore we collaborate with nutrition experts to drive an awareness on healthier eating. We have many projects all through the year to inform and motivate children and adults on good eating. There is a strong link between healthy eating and preventing non-communicable diseases and this is what we wanted to showcase at the 2nd Yoghurt Summit”.

The Summit was held in Johannesburg and attended by 135 local health specialists; including dietitians, doctors and policymakers. The topic for this year’s summit was Realising Children's Potential. The key messages are that nutrition is as essential as the stimulation, the right books, uniforms and education to reaching one’s potential.

Nutritionist and researcher, Lebo Matshego-Roda concluded that there are many nutrient gaps in children’s diets. Although children eat enough foods, they are not eating the right types of food and are missing out on the essential nutrients like vitamins A, B, C, D, E, calcium, iron and zinc. These nutrients have an impact on growth, achieving one’s ideal height and brain function and helps develop strong immune systems. Identifying and closing gaps timeously is critical in ensuring the optimal growth potential of children.

Whilst Roda explained the gaps, she went on to reinforce what we have heard before: “Our children are at risk of developing long-term complications like diabetes, hypertension and heart diseases if we do not also start paying attention to the energy density of foods that are contributing to the incidence of overweight. The time to act is now."

Whilst people believe eating well is complicated, international experts spoke about how some everyday foods help with metabolic fitness, simply meaning that they help the body to work better. Professor Marette from Laval University in Canada spoke of both epidemiological and laboratory research that provided evidence that yoghurt consumption is associated with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D). These studies are positive indicators to encourage, as part of a balanced diet, a well-loved food like yoghurt, for children to eat more regularly.


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