It’s 2010 – time to flip the calendar, wipe the slate clean, and take a look ahead.

To help you start off the new decade right, here is a summary of some of the biggest issues likely to impact the food and beverage industry this year:

  1. Increased Regulations.  The food safety bill means increased inspections of domestic food facililties and greater oversight of imports.  The proposed legislation will give the FDA enhanced authority to oversee the safety of our nation’s food supply.
  2. Labeling Changes.  To ensure consumers are not confused or misled by symbols used in front-of-package and shelf labeling, the FDA is drafting new legislation for simpler labeling.  The proposed changes would require food companies to use new, consistent labels clearly defining nutritional criteria.
  3. Advertising Scrutiny.  The Federal Trade Commission is scrutinizing the claims made by cereal and other food and beverage products marketed to children.  This issue continues to gain momentum as the Democrat-controlled Congress becomes more involved and Internet-connected moms speak out.
  4. Consumer Skepticism.  According to a new IBM survey, less than 20% of consumers trust food companies to develop and sell safe and healthy food products.  Sixty percent question the safety of the food they purchase, and nearly half have changed shopping behavior to access fresher or better quality foods.
  5. Waging War on Obesity.  Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released a report identifying several recommendations to make preventing and reducing obesity a central component of health reform.  The report called for a “National Strategy to Combat Obesity,” which would define government’s role, and promote collaboration among businesses, communities, schools, and families.To that end, the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation has committed to a national, multi-year effort to help reduce obesity by 2015.  The plan will promote “energy balance” (calories consumed equalling calories expended).  For the food and beverage industry, supporting this initiative translates into product reformulation and innovation, providing smaller portions, redesigning packaging and labeling, placing calorie information on the front of products, consumer education, and in-store promotion.
  6. Soda Tax.  Although a recent Yale School of Public Health study found that soda taxes have not made a difference in BMI over a 16-year period, California legislators are considering higher soda taxes as a way to curb obesity.  According to a UCLA study, adults who drink soda daily are 27% more likely to be obese.  But critics of the tax say that focusing on soft drinks will not solve the problem, citing the same UCLA study which also showed that half of adults who don’t drink soda are also overweight.Kelly Brownell, Director of the Rudd Center at Yale, compared the soda industry lanscape to the tobacco industry’s years ago, when governments began to increase cigarette taxes as a way to get people to quit smoking.

We’d Like to Hear From You

What are the most important issues or trends likely to affect your business in 2010?  We’d like to know.  You may leave your comment below, or contact us directly on our website.

To read the full food and beverage industry trends article by Diane Toops, visit FoodProcessing.com.

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