Battle of the bulge is set to notch up a gear

By Rick Pendrous contact

- Last updated on GMT

Rick Pendrous, editor, Food Manufacture
Rick Pendrous, editor, Food Manufacture

Related tags: Nutrition

As we start the new year, the food and drink industry awaits with much anticipation what the government is going to call on it to deliver as part of its childhood obesity strategy.

January will, of course, witness the usual array of ‘yo-yo’ diets that people adopt after their festive binges. But we can also expect the obesity strategy to set much tougher reformulation targets to reduce high levels of fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) in food and drink. Tougher restrictions are also expected on the marketing and promotion of HFSS food to children.

Against this backdrop, we can look forward to 2016 being another year of close scrutiny of Britain’s food and drink sector, together with the now common surfeit of lurid tabloid headlines.

Mounting criticism

For a number of years now, there has been mounting criticism from health lobby groups and others of the food industry for virtually single handedly creating the nation’s obesity epidemic.

But, as we report in our interview with the Food and Drink Federation’s director general Ian Wright (p16), the industry is starting to take a more robust approach in responding to its critics. However, this comes at a cost, as Wright told us, with some particularly nasty personal attacks on him on Twitter.

Attacks

It seems some groups with an anti-capitalist agenda are using criticism about purveyors of ‘junk’ food as yet another weapon in their attack armoury. They see themselves as crusaders against what they consider to be huge exploitative multinational firms behind all the ills of the world.

While Wright’s combative style doesn’t meet with unanimous approval across the industry, some see him as a breath of fresh air, dispelling the usual bland rebuttals.

Related topics: People & Skills, Obesity

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