Fit and healthy
Good nutrition is the key to wellness.
GOOD food is the foundation of good life and, good food means the right balance of food, says Peter R. Vogt, managing director of Nestle (M) Bhd.
“Good food aside, good (lifestyle) habits, regular exercise and eating food in relation to physical activity are also important. For example, people who perform heavy work need more calories than those who sit in front of the computer the whole day,” he says.
As the largest food company in the world, Nestle is also the leading nutrition, health and wellness company, Vogt says. Hence, Nestle’s tagline Good Food, Good Life reinforces the brand’s commitment to nutrition, health and wellness.
The brand seeks to help make nutrition, health and wellness more accessible to consumers through product innovations and community education initiatives.
Vogt says that the Malaysian Dietary Guidelines 2010 and the food pyramid help spread the message on good food. “Eat more food at the bottom of the pyramid and less of the food at the top!”
To raise awareness on the nutritional quali-
Staying fit as a family. Being healthy involves exercising and proper nutrition. ty of food, Vogt says Nestle has worked with the Nutrition Society of Malaysia to produce free education leaflets on nutrition tips, healthy eating and healthy lifestyles.
Other than developing new products, the brand also embarks on nutrition profiling of products to improve nutrition, such as by reducing sugar level. “Our ready-to-drink Milo has a reduction of 30% sugar level over a few years because too much sugar is not good for health,” Vogt emphasises, adding that it is a challenge to reduce sugar level – or salt or fat, for that matter – and ensure consumers like the taste.
The brand has also launched new products with special (health) benefits, like the popular Bliss (a low-fat yoghurt drink) with inulin which is good for digestion or the new Maggi instant whole wheat noodles, which is a source of fibre and is lower in fat content with no added monosodium glutamate. Even Nestum cereals have also included whole grains.
Nestle presents its products, gives nutrition information and holds product tastings in various locations in the country, such as shopping malls in Kuala Lumpur, Johor and Sarawak. Other than product samplings in offices and supermarkets, its nutritionists give advice through campaigns like Nourishing Malaysia, which showcases Nestle products.
Mothers are the brand’s most important customers. “They decide what foods to buy and eat and are most concerned about having a healthy, happy family,” Vogt says. “Children educated on healthy nutrition will continue such good habits into adulthood.”
People should be mindful not to overeat tasty products but regard them as “treats” to be taken in smaller quantities. That is why Nestle is promoting smaller packaging products. Kit Kat has been down-sized from multiple-stick chocolate bars to a pack of one stick each of 45 calories, so people can control their calorie intake.
Vogt advises: “People should understand how many calories to eat in a day and try not to go above that. We know we should be eating more healthily or exercise more regularly but sometimes we forget,” he says.
However, he feels that the awareness level on healthy living is increasing and consumers are ready for change – to embrace the healthy lifestyle.
Even in coffee shops, the Kurang Manis (Less Sugar) campaign seems to be well received and folks are making the effort to consume less sugar.
Compared to two decades ago, he notes there is certainly more awareness about healthy products and there has been an increase in the number of fitness clubs and more health articles in newspapers.
“Malaysia has also become more affluent and people can afford to buy more products, including those which are high in fat and calories. So we need to promote a healthy lifestyle.”
Nestle’s new print campaign called How Am I? is aimed at making people think and act in a healthy way, he says. The initiative encourages us to assess our personal well-being in a fun way and provide resources and information to help us change for the better – at our own pace.
Nutrition, health and wellness also begin at home for Nestle staff.
Four years ago, the company started Fruit Day on Tuesdays and Thursdays. A basket of fruits is provided on each floor and employees can pick a fruit to eat. Current activities are: Staircase Monday (staff to take the stairs on Mondays) and Exercise Wednesday. Next month, the company plans to launch its Lunch and Learn Friday. Employees also participate in Healthy Walk campaigns. Previously, 100 Days Wellness Challenge was organised for staff keen to slim down.
Vogt leads a healthy lifestyle. “I swim and go to the gym regularly,” he says.
Nestle’s offices occupy the 17th to 25th floor in Surian Tower in Petaling Jaya. Some 700 employees in the building are encouraged to minimise use of the lifts and take the stairs. A novel way of encouraging staff to use the stairs is through interesting wall murals.
Local artist Donald Abraham from Sabah was commissioned to paint the murals beginning Oct 4. He is expected to finish the project early next year. On different floors, the walls have different health messages on nutrition, health and wellness.
Nov 21 is World Walking Day and Nestle has planned walking events in six different locations – Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Kuantan, Johor, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu. It invites the public to join in the walk covering a distance of 2.2km or 3,000 steps.
However, Vogt says: “It would be ideal if people can join in groups and walk 1km or 2km every morning before going to work.”
For community education initiatives, Nestle teamed up with Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia for a study on the eating habits of primary pupils between 2001 and 2002, and 2007 and 2008.
In August this year, Nestle launched Healthy Kids Programme with the Nutrition Society of Malaysia to address under-nutrition and obesity among primary schoolchildren. It is an awareness campaign on nutrition and physical activity as well as nutrition intervention. Nestle (M) Bhd managing director Peter Vogt feels that Malaysians are ready for change – to embrace the healthy lifestyle. n For more information, check out www.nestle. com.my or call Nestle Consumer Services toll free line 1800883433.