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The Better Food Index

A ranking of the 30 largest food and drinks companies in the UK on their actions and commitments towards a fair and sustainable food system.

The Tortoise Better Food Index ranks the UK’s 30 Biggest Food Producers, with a total £270bn in global revenues annually.

Some of these companies produce well-known brands like Cadburys, while others make the “own-label” foods we buy in supermarkets, like chicken or fruit.

These companies produce a broad range of foods, covering sectors including dairy, meat, grocery and soft drinks.

We rank companies on their Walk and Talk. Talk covers a company’s targets and memberships, whereas Walk tracks data and performance metrics.

Everyone has room for improvement – The top ranking company, Nestlé, is the only one to receive a Walk score above 50/100.

There’s a lot we don’t know – Scope 3 emissions covering the supply chain, which account for about 95% of food sector emissions, weren’t reported by 10 of the companies.

Talk vs Walk – According to our analysis, some companies have set targets, such as on food waste reduction, they’re not on track to achieve.

In a nutshell

Food companies have an enormous impact on the planet and our livelihoods. And yet, much of the food on our supermarket shelves is made by opaque companies that are rarely scrutinised.

The Better Food Index ranks the UK’s 30 largest food and drinks producers according to their performance and transparency around key measures of sustainability, affordability and nutrition.

Rankings

The rankings table reveals the leaders and low-performers at the top of the UK food industry based on their scores across the index pillars. This is the first iteration of The Better Food Index, published on 30 June 2022.

*IPL (Asda), Farmers Boy and Neerock (Morrisons) are owned by UK-based retailers and are not subject to the same reporting requirements.

The data

Explore the 100+ indicators that make up The Better Food Index. Some data points are modified before scoring and may not directly reflect a company’s final score.

The pillars

The Better Food Index is organised into 5 performance-based ‘Walk’ pillars: Environment, Social Impact, Nutrition, Affordability, Financial Sustainability.

Transparency, and a stand-alone commitments-based ‘Talk’ pillar which tracks companies’ targets and memberships are measured separately.

Environment

Focuses on the impact of the companies on the environment, from emissions to water use to deforestation-free sourcing.

Social Impact

Focuses on social responsibility, ethics and justice, including indicators on equal pay, modern slavery and animal welfare.

Nutrition

Focuses on the nutritional content of products a company produces, such as high levels of salt, fat, sugar and reformulation.

Affordability

Focuses on the relative pricing of goods different companies produce, as well as the pricing of healthier foods.

Financial Sustainability

Focuses on the capacity of a company to absorb financial shocks and sustainably grow.

Transparency

Focuses on the comprehensiveness of companies’ reporting.

Talk

Focuses on companies memberships and commitments.

Methodology

The Better Food Index uses over 100 indicators from a range of public sources, as well as original analysis of company product portfolios.

Authors

Researched by Alex Inch, Veronika Halamkova, Maddy Diment, Joseph White, James Love and Daniela de Lorenzo.

With thanks to Catherine Chong, co-founder of Farms to Feed Us and ESG Advisor; Nicki Whiteman, Bite Back 2030; Andy Young, Achieve Goal 12; and other external advisors who supported during the development of the Index.

Further reporting