Home Investments To Tackle Obesity, Unleash The Food Industry

To Tackle Obesity, Unleash The Food Industry

by Ozva Admin

The industry cannot be relegated to the children’s table at the next White House Conference

the White House has announced that it will host its first food policy conference in more than fifty years on September 28, 2022. At the wheel of this gathering are public health luminaries, celebrity chefs such as Jose Andres, nutrition experts, directors of food policy institutes and government officials. But except for the IMF, the trade association for food retailers, the packaged food, beverage and restaurant industries have not been invited to sit at the adult table. And that’s a shame, because only your total commitment can help overcome today’s most vexing nutritional problems.

Since the first White House Conference in 1969, the face of malnutrition in the United States has changed; it is more swollen than hollow. The Centers for Disease Control pegs the adult obesity rate at more than 42%, and childhood obesity in more than 22%. The Association for a Healthier America estimates that the rate of childhood obesity has quadrupled in the last 40 years. And about a quarter of 17-24 year olds are too heavy to serve in the military.

For the past decade or so, efforts to curb rising obesity rates have focused on restricting the practices of the food industry. Approaches being deployed by governments and the public health community include taxing soft drinks, placing warning signs on package labels, and banning the sale of so-called “junk food.”

Echoing these tactics, a 2019 conference marking the 50th anniversary of the first White House call released a report reaffirming these policies. Forty-one organizations signed on to support this initiative, but none were food companies or industry associations.

This challenge requires a much larger arsenal of solutions than has traditionally been proposed. Expanding the availability of fresh produce in “food deserts” is a laudable goal, but it will not be enough. Research from the health department and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has shown that in tax-paying municipalities and countries, such as Mexico, Chile and healthy Berkeley, California, obesity rates continue to rise. And research by the Natural Marketing Institute and the Hudson Institute has shown that fewer than one-third of consumers with the highest rates of obesity read nutrition labels on food packages.

No tax, sinister label, or below-eye-level display can override the very human tendency to gravitate toward cheap, convenient, ready-to-eat or easy-to-prepare comfort foods. This is why we need to unleash the involvement and capabilities of the food industry to deliver solutions.

Some segments of the industry have made real commitments. The soft drink industry has spent more than $100 million promoting smaller sizes and less sugar in its products. Many companies have committed to reducing calories and portion sizes through the PHA. Even the confectionery industry has stepped up, offering indulgent treats in smaller portions.

However, more needs to be done.

Instead of removing the old menu of restrictions and shackles on food companies, the White House Conference should take bold steps to really make a difference. Some recommendations follow:

  1. Invest in food R&D in the same way as for Covid-19 vaccines. Obesity is a pandemic like Covid-19. Is he second preventable cause of death in the United States behind smoking. The industry spends a measly 1-2% on average on R&D; but they know the food and how to create “happiness points”. The government must provide the necessary incentives and capital to develop cutting-edge science and products that nourish our citizens, are tasty, and help consumers affordably shift to healthier weights.
  2. Unleash industry marketing prowess. Food, beverage, and restaurant companies spend $14 billion annually in the US compared to the CDC’s total budget of $1 billion for everybody chronic disease prevention and health promotion. The industry can collectively commit to deploying 2% to 3% of these dollars to fight obesity in the same way. Anheuser-Busch InBev took on the biggest issues facing his industry: drunk driving, underage drinking, and other harmful uses of alcohol. And you can learn from the example of AB InBev: its $1 billion+ the investment has been good for business.
  3. Prove your case to Wall Street. Food industry analysts have a big impact on whether investors should buy (or sell) a company’s stock. a decade ago, Hudson Institute Studies showed that healthy foods were good for business and that these items drove sales growth. Providing these analysts with up-to-date studies demonstrating the importance of healthier foods to sales growth and profitability would go a long way toward accelerating the introduction and marketing support behind healthier foods, beverages, and restaurant menu items. . These foods are the growth reserves of the future.

Right now, the food and beverage industries are not a central part of the discussion, so what is likely to come out of the conference will be imposed on them. Malnutrition in the United States continues to be a problem. If we don’t engage the major industries that contribute to it, don’t expect to see much progress.

You may also like

Leave a Comment