Food Industry: Friend or Foe?


Open discourse and tolerance between the food industry and public sector is limited. As a result, the public and private sectors are reluctant to collaborate on pressing nutritional issues. Those in the public sector have never heard what they could do to encourage a food company’s transition towards healthier foods and beverages, whereas many in the private sector dismissed policies and actions initiated within the public sector. During my career, I have sought to engage the broadest possible stakeholder groups required to develop evidence-based policies and with the aim of improving public health. My recent experience in industry confirmed my view about the need for scientific exchange regardless of the disagreements about policy. Open discourse and partnering is essential if we are to tackle complex food and health issues and improve the global food system. Private–public engagement can provide faster and more sustainable results than government alone without impacting profits. Moreover, a high-quality product in smaller portions will have higher profit margins than a bargain-sized product of lower quality. The food industry and private sector must come together to implement innovative strategies to address urgent nutritional needs.

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