Despite Big Food’s endless pledges, promises, and self-congratulatory initiatives, the facts speak for themselves, as this article in The Economist makes perfectly clear.
“For food and drinks companies, rising obesity rates present a conundrum. Companies have a duty to their shareholders to make money. All big food companies are working hard to sell more products to more of the world. Many unhealthy products are very profitable. But companies do not want to be vilified for helping to make people fatter. The spectre of government regulation looms large. Many firms are now conflicted, continuing to hawk unhealthy products yet also touting elaborate plans to improve nutrition. They insist they will help lower obesity rates, not raise them, but there is room for doubt.”
Yale University’s Dr. Kelly Brownell “argues that the food industry has followed the script of the tobacco companies, emphasising personal responsibility and funding health research. So far, promises to make products healthier and limit advertising have helped fend off legislation, but not everyone is happy about that. “No place in the world have we had self-regulation shown to be successful at solving the issue,” says Barry Popkin of the University of North Carolina.”
Partnerships with the likes of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics only continue to propagate this ineffective lip service from the food industry. As RDs, we want our professional organization to act as a leader in the realm of nutrition and realize that the answer lies not in giving endless free passes to the food industry, but rather in helping shape sound policy that requires industry to take a modicum of responsibility.