Food and beverage

The food and beverage industry includes all companies involved in processing raw food materials, packaging, and distributing them: from farm to fork. The industry's value chain can be looked at through six stages: (1) input industry, (2) product of inputs, (3) collection of inputs, (4) processing and manufacturing, (5) distribution and retail, (6) consumption.

F&B industry value chain – direct and indirect impacts (list not exhaustive)

At every stage of the value chain, food and beverage companies have the potential to do great harm or tremendous good for children. At the moment, UNICEF is focusing on better understanding the industry's impact on both the food environment and agricultural supply chains.

According to the World Health Organisation, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the world's leading cause of death - with an estimated 38 million global deaths annually and a burden that falls mainly on developing countries. The importance and urgency of addressing NCDs has been recognized as central to the Post-2015 Development Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals.

UNICEF's primary NCD focus is on the prevention of child overweight and obesity - an immediate problem for child health and a key risk factor for a number of NCDs later in life. According to UNICEF-WHO-World Bank joint estimates on child malnutrition, there are 41 million overweight children in the world - about 10 million more than two decades ago. As child overweight and obesity are increasing at alarming rates in developed and developing countries alike, countries are seeking guidance from UNICEF on how to integrate the prevention and control of child overweight into national health and nutrition strategies and programmes.

Since 2012, the Children's Rights and Business Principles (developed by UNICEF, Save the Children and UN Global Compact) have provided a framework for business on how to consider children in their policies and practices. UNICEF is developing a complementary strategy focused on the potential of the food and beverage industry to respect and support children's rights to health and adequate nutrition. This includes consideration of children when determining how products are designed, marketed, labelled, prices and made available. The guidance extends to related laws, policies or practices that have an impact on children as consumers.

To learn more about what UNICEF is doing to address how the food and beverage industry is impacting children's rights through the food environment, click on one of the featured topics:

UNICEF is also working towards respect and support of children’s rights in agricultural supply chains. To learn more: