Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity
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Food & Agriculture Industry

The food and agriculture industries are marvels of the business world. They raise and produce enough food to feed billions each day and have greatly increased the number of people who can feel secure about having a safe, predictable, appealing food supply.

The industry also wields massive power and influence. It is heavily involved in national and global nutrition policy, trade policies and subsidies that affect food costs, food labeling laws, regulations on children’s food advertising, and much more.

The food industry has performed brilliantly in instilling its images in the public consciousness. More people in the world recognize Ronald McDonald than any celebrity, political figure, or spiritual leader; more people know the word Coca-Cola than any word except OK. Tony the Tiger, Mr. Peanut, the Kool-Aid pitcher – all stand as proof that food marketers are among the best-known corporate success stories of all time.

These examples of visibility are the superficial signs of the food industry’s power. The Rudd Center is a close examiner of the extent to which this power is being harnessed in the service of healthy or unhealthy food practices. It is essential that industry practices that contribute to ill health be made visible, that companies blocking progress be encouraged or even pressured to change, and that companies making real progress be commended. The Rudd Center is committed to establishing new initiatives that will maximize constructive interactions between business, public health, government, and other key constituencies.