Weighing In On Marion Nestle’s 2013 Food Politics Predictions [Part 2]

food politics predictions

When Marion Nestle, renowned food policy expert and author, wrote her predictions for 2013 in food politics, I was pleased to see that we here at EatDrinkBetter.com and ImportantMedia.org have been on top of the trends all year.

Yesterday, I looked at Nestle’s first five predictions.  Today I’ll tackle the other five. Did you miss part 1? Click here to check it out!

Here is what Nestle wrote in her predictions for 2013 in food politics:

Food issues are invariably controversial and anyone could see that nothing would get done about them during an election year. With the election over, the big question is whether and when the stalled actions will be released.

Here are Nestle’s predictions (in bold), followed by what was written about predictions numbers 6 through 10 on our network:

5. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will delay issuing nutrition standards for competitive foods.

At issue here are the nutrition standards for snacks and sodas sold in competition with school meals. My assessment: Nestle is likely correct that legislation won’t move the dial on this issue, but I’m hopeful that consumer (parental) demand may impact vending machine offerings.  To read more check out these network posts.

4. The FDA will delay revising food labels.

In this prediction, Nestle tries to takle several issue including greenwash (i.e. using “natural” on food labels), front-of-package labeling, and others. My assessment: This is a huge, diverse topic with some of these issues not even determined by the USDA; I’d be happy to see half these issues resolved, but fear its unlikely that USDA nutritional labeling and FTC  false advertising rules will come into sync any time soon.  To read more check out these network posts.

3. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participation will increase, but so will pressure to cut benefits.

Nestle asks: Since demands on Snap – food stamps – reached record levels in 2012 can antihunger advocates retain benefits while antiobesity advocates promote purchases of healthier foods? My  assessment: We have been following the healthy food trends (which seem to be moving in the right direction) but haven’y devoted enough time to the political side of SNAP.  To read more check out these network posts.

2. Sugar-sweetened beverages will continue to be the flash point for efforts to counter childhood obesity.

Nestle notes that as research increasingly links sugary drinks to poor diets and health soda tax and size-cap initiatives will begin to succeed. My assessment: Again, I have to agree with Nestle’s assessment that we may have reached a tipping point in our tolerance for sugar-sweetened bverages. To read more check out these network posts.

1. Grassroots efforts will have greater impact.

Nestle ends with this: “Because so little progress can be expected from government these days, I’m predicting bigger and noisier grassroots efforts to create systems of food production and consumption that are healthier for people and the planet. Much work needs to be done. This is the year to do it.”  My assessment: I like to think that we here who write for ImportantMedia.org blogs — but more importantly, YOU, the readers — are part of the grassroots efforts to make ours a healthier planet. 

Here’s to a great 2013 for all of us for care to eat drink better! 

Image Credit: Hand image via Shutterstock

  1. Claire

    I found your blog by accident looking for Marion Nestle’s new book, and I love what you’re doing! I am currently taking a food security and sustainability class in college, and was introduced to Nestle through our class readings. I agree completely with her predictions, especially because I live in WA state where GMO salmon is becoming a popular topic and GE labeling is on the Fall 2013 ballot. Food and water watch is also doing a bunch of grassroots campaigning for I-522, you should check it out!

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