A big FOOD week is coming up.
United Nations. In New York today and tomorrow, The United Nations is hosting global leaders for a High-Level Meeting on Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs). Unlike contagious disease and plagues, these diseases are totally preventable at the personal level. The 4 NCDs are:
- cardiovascular diseases
- chronic respiratory diseases
The first 3 diseases are food related, and the last is smoking related. With global diabetes rates soaring (up from 30M in 1985 to 366M in 2011), governments must step up to the challenge by making sure consumers have access to cheap healthy food. Incentives and subsidies to farmers and manufacturers must be aligned to make this happen( hint: US Farm Bill).
Will be interesting to see what the UN comes up with. Usually we don’t expect much to come from this (unfortunately) toothless organization. As Prof Marion Nestle reminds us:
In 2004, the U.N. caved in to pressures from food companies and weakened its guidelines and recommendations. The health situation is worse now and affects people in developing as well as industrialized countries. Let’s hope the General Assembly puts health above politics this time.
Clinton Global Initiative. Also in New York, the Clinton Global Initiative is convening Tuesday to Thursday to discuss among others, Sustainable Consumption: Ensuring Long-term Prosperity on a Finite Planet. Among the speakers, President Barack Obama will provide opening remarks on a panel discussing these issues. Among state leaders participating in the conference, so are Big Junk Food company CEOs, including Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo ($2.3B Pepsi/Doritos sponsorship of NFL “Match Made in Heaven”) and Mukthar Kent (“We didn’t make America Fat“) from Coca Cola. From the agenda:
More than ever before, the world’s population – and its ever-increasing demand for products and services – is putting pressure on the planet. In an era of rapidly depleting and finite resources, businesses and society have the opportunity to reframe how value is created and how consumption acts as a driver for economic growth. At the most basic levels, companies must take responsibility for their environmental, economic, political, and social impact across their value chains and spheres of influence…significant change can only occur if sustainability practices are incorporated into core business models, rather than simply remaining in the realm of corporate social responsibility… This panel will address these opportunities and challenges through the lens of the global food business. The current food system has resulted in high prices being paid by the natural environment and by consumer health; but the opportunity exists to redefine this system.
It should be interesting to hear how selling sugar water to the world can be morphed into a sustainable endeavor, don’t you think?
Hacking the Food System. On a slightly smaller scale and more grass roots, Food+Tech Connect is hosting a meeting of foodies, technologists, and thinkers to figure out how technology can be used to hack the food system. (New York, Sept 21 – check it out!).
Natural Food Expo.In Baltimore, Expo East, is the bi-annual Natural Food Expo convenes on Thursday to showcase the latest and greatest in natural foods. While we scoff at the liberal use of the term natural, which is unregulated and as a result causes much consumer confusion, there is something to be said for many of the smaller companies presenting their foods. Many of them are small, source higher quality ingredients than their megacorp competitors, and try not to use highly controversial preservative and additives.
Dietitans’ Conference. Heading into the weekend is our favorite conference of the year – FNCE – the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo. This is the annual meeting of the American Dietetic Association. Approximately 10,000 registered dietitians will fly in to San Diego to learn, teach, network, and try to figure out how to reverse the obesity epidemic.
Fooducate will be on the ground at some of these events, and we will try to bring you our reading of the heat map.