Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity

Industry Perspective

The food industry includes thousands of companies, ranging from the largest restaurant chains and sellers of processed foods to small organic farms. In the face of a world obesity crisis and a drive toward healthier eating, some players stand to benefit while others may suffer.

For many years no one challenged the basic business model of maximizing both food sales and consumption. Given free reign, the food industry responded with heavy advertising to children, contracts with schools, and price and portion-size strategies that encouraged people to buy and eat more. Now, as obesity rates increase all over the globe, practices that once appeared ingenious are being criticized by a diverse set of stakeholders, from scientists to public health officials to policy makers.

Food Industry Playbook?

The positions of major segments of the food industry, expressed to some extent through the trade associations, fall into a relatively predictable set of behaviors and key messages. It is important to ask whether a food industry playbook has emerged, and if so, what its consequences will be. Read more about food industry messaging.

Tracking How Industry Responds

A major challenge facing the public health community is how to promote and reward change in progressive companies and how best to pressure the laggards. Find out about recent industry initiatives to address obesity and decide for yourself whether they measure up.

Safe Space Meetings

The Rudd Center organizes safe space meetings at which business, the health sciences, government, education, and other key groups can convene to engage in open, candid dialogue and to explore whether profitability can intersect with public health. Read more about Safe Space Meetings.