Declining role of governments in promoting healthy eating: time to rethink the role of the food industry?
AbstractThe increasing incidence of overweight and obesity calls for strategies to influence individuals’ lifestyle. There is increasing acceptance of the idea that such strategies should go further than to stress the responsibility of the individual and focus on wider socioeconomic and environmental factors. This is true also for the promotion of healthy eating, and as industry increases its awareness towards corporate social responsibility and societal issues, the actors of the private commercial food sector begin to discover healthy eating as an important theme, which they have to relate to in their strategic planning and management. This paper presents evidence that supports this contention and discusses the implications of the seemingly changed distribution of responsibilities for the promotion of healthy eating between governments and the food industry. From findings in the social sciences it tries to explain why corporate stakeholders start focusing on societal e xpectations, and why this development may coincide with a decline in government responsibility. Finally, the consequences of this development for the world of nutrition and the food industry are discussed. Keywords: corporate nutritional responsibility; food industry; governments; healthy eating
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