Even with the dramatic shift in the industry's trade associations, for America’s food companies to work together to solve problems and issues that are meaningful for them.
Over the past couple of years we have seen a dramatic shift in our industry’s trade associations: GMA losing many of its largest members, FMI shuttering the nations largest supermarket trade show, NGA selling the majority of their annual show to a UK based trade show operator and other associations struggling as their membership fades due to consolidation.
But that doesn’t mean that there is not a need or desire for America’s food companies to work together to solve problems and issues that are meaningful for them.
The Sustainable Food Policy Alliance launched in July by Danone, Mars, Nestle and Unilever, says its mission is to fight for progressive food policies: including conservation programs and more accurate and prominent nutrition labels. Issues that folks like GMA fought against. The alliance will lobby in five policy areas that it says are of interest to modern consumers: product transparency, nutrition, the environment, food safety and a positive workplace for food and agriculture workers.
And their efforts are to be applauded in an era where consumers of all generations – but especially Millenials and Gen Z are demanding more transparency and more responsibility from our food companies.
“We truly believe consumers want this, and they vote with every purchase,” Mariano Lozano, the chief executive of Danone North America told the Washington Post. “We are reaching a moment when what makes business sense and what is the right thing to do come together,” he said.
The group, according to the Post, is urging the Food and Drug Administration to advance the rollout of new Nutrition Facts panels, first proposed under the Obama administration, which more prominently highlight added sugar and calorie information. It will also back a federal plan, long fought by industry groups, for a phased reduction of sodium in packaged food products.
The group is staffed by people from each of the 4 companies and a few consultants – not by a huge infrastructure with seven figure salaries. It is an era of lean and mean - and my hope is that they succeed where others have failed.