Three years ago, the Nestle headquarters in the Philippines received a most unusual gift. In the package was an album that contained clippings of all Nestle recipes collected since 1969.
Its sender, a longtime member of the Nestle Club, felt the urge to give something back to a company that saw her through all these years. Nestle Phils., the local subsidiary of the world’s largest food and nutrition company, was then celebrating its 100th year.
Today, as Nestle once again held its annual Choose Wellness Expo at the Megatrade Halls 1-3 of SM Megamall last July 5-6, its director of communications Sandra C. Puno remembers the gift and ponders on the company’s responsibility to push health and wellness to consumers.
Receiving tokens of gratitude from consumers is nothing new to Nestle. Puno said it also receives its share of poems each year,
while others claim to have named their babies Nestle, Kit-Kat, Coco Crunch and even Bear Brand. Though skeptical at first, Puno did her research, only to find out their stories were true.
“It’s a very serious responsibility, how our consumers trust us. Our Nutrition, Health and Wellness (NHW) initiatives, backed by Nestle’s global scientific resources in the food, nutrition and related sciences, address consumers’ range needs on a personal level by helping them recognize and act on lifestyle wellness issues,” Puno said.
The annual Choose Wellness Expo is just one tool for sending across the message of health and wellness to Filipinos. The two-day event has consistently received 30,500 people each year, the maximum capacity the Megatrade Halls can handle.
Minutes after the mall opened, a long queue had already snaked its way from the fifth floor all the way to the basement. Families, friends, senior citizens and children have turned the event into an annual health and wellness pilgrimage.
Aside from the freebies they accumulate from visiting booths, they also glean important facts about health and nutrition.
For the Nestle team, however, the long lines only meant that health and wellness have already been ingrained in the Filipino family
core values, such that even a group of senior citizens waited for their turn in line, sometimes garbed in their best workout getup and even bike helmets, unaware of special privileges bestowed on them, such as express lanes.
As in the previous year, consumers had two ways to learn health facts versus myths. There was a dedicated area for Nestle’s 60 nutritionists who provide free consultation and guidance. All were armed with the tools of the trade, such as weighing scales that indicate body fat, muscle and water, tape measures, and calculators to determine BMI.
Many nutritionists also explained BMI and its impact on one’s health.
For those who sought out more fun, Nestle had rows of interactive booths featuring games, dances and product sampling. New this year was the Wellness Theater, an interactive booth bent on making learning fun. So, while the consumers ran and danced and played, they also learned the values of drinking milk, for example.
Nestle brand endorsers, such as Nescafe’s Daniel Padilla and the athlete endorsers of Milo Energy to Build Champions such as Jeron Teng, also dropped by to greet fans and talk about the values of wellness.
“We want to engage our consumers on how the brands contribute to their overall health and wellness. Pursuing a healthy lifestyle involves a personal choice, and once you choose to go the wellness route, you have to be committed to stay the course to produce the desired effect,” said Leslie Go-Alcantara, Nestle Phils. corporate wellness head.
With this year’s Barangay Wellness theme, Puno hopes that the importance of taking care of one’s health will someday give birth to a support group of sorts.
“Wellness is a personal choice. It’s difficult to force somebody into wellness. But for a person to go through that and make a lifestyle change, they will need community and family support,” Puno said.
Through the expo, Puno said Nestle also learned about the wellness concerns of their consumers, including child nutrition, weight problems, food nutrient content and food facts. The company has so far deployed 500 registered nutritionists-dieticians (RNDs) all over the country to provide personalized nutrition counseling to shoppers.
This program reaches an average of 900,000 consumers annually, or a total of seven million Filipinos since it started. The free counseling includes body fat analysis and BMI, as well equipping consumers with personal wellness tools.