4 ways the food industry influences what you eat

Diet is the key foundation of any fitness regime, but with so many fast and processed foods available today, it’s all too easy to get drawn into eating the wrong things. The food industry itself is, of course, out to sell you its products, including those which we deem to be unhealthy. With that in mind, let's look at four ways the food industry gets you to eat more of the things you shouldn’t.

Unhealthy food industry tactics

The four ways in which the food industry aims to influence you to eat the wrong things are by:

  • Lobbying
  • Co-opting nutritional professionals
  • Forming influential friendships
  • Being prepared to play hardball

We are going to discuss each of these tactics briefly, but you may like to get a copy of a book called “Food Politics,” by Marion Nestle as this is the source material on which this short discussion is based. If you would like to obtain a copy of the book from Amazon, please click here.

Although the book talks about the American food industry, in particular, their influence does also extend to many other countries, including, of course, the UK.

Okay, let’s kick off by taking a quick look at the four key points listed above in a little more detail.

Lobbying

Lobbying is a legal strategy employed by companies and/or individuals to influence the policies and actions of others. The food industry targets special interest groups, government rules and policy-making councils, and government individuals who are involved with making laws relating to food products. They try to influence these groups of people for one reason - in order to gain benefits for their own companies

Co-opting nutritional professionals

Food companies gain influence over nutritional professionals by doing things like providing grants for them. This is of course done in a subtle way so that the food professional still feels independent. But in actual fact, he/she has unwittingly taken on a particular bias in favour of that food company and its policies.

Forming influential friendships

This is a little bit like lobbying, but rather than being done officially, it is done through building friendships with key political people and groups. These friendships then influence the other parties to appreciate the food companies’ agendas.

Being prepared to play hardball

When the food industry is backed into a corner, they will often respond by suing their critics in a court of law. This is how they play hardball. It is a way of preventing bad press and also a way of intimidating other potential critics from going down this road.

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