This fall, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) will jointly publish new Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The guidelines are revised every five years by a panel of scientific experts and serve as the basis for federal food and nutrition programs. Additionally, they are considered “authoritative advice” for Americans on dietary habits that will promote good health and reduce the risk of major chronic diseases.
So what will the guidelines likely recommend?
- Reduced salt consumption. Linked to hypertension, heart disease and other health problems, salt has become a primary governmental target in recent years. Although most major food companies have already substantially lowered sodium in their product lines, the question is still at the back of my mind – will the feds begin to actually ration this ingredient?
- Reduced use of sweeteners. Ingredients like high fructose corn syrup have been linked to now-epidemic obesity in our population. Our government is waging war on these sweeteners. In 2009, President Obama alluded to soda taxes as one way to battle obesity – essentially making soda the “new tobacco.” California and Washington already have huge “sin taxes” on soft drinks. And even though over half of Americans oppose them, several other states have put these taxes on the legislative table. What’s next?
- New label regulations and advertising bans. The people have spoken, and they want change. In a recent survey by Food Minds, 86% of respondents were in favor of the overhaul on food and front-of-label packaging that lists calories and beneficial nutrients. Nearly three quarters of respondents support government-sponsored educational program to help Americans understand the difference between “good” foods and ” bad” foods. Additionally, over half of the respondents would support the government banning of advertising “unhealthy” foods to children.
Bottom line, our government is attempting to play an increasingly larger role in determining what we put in our bodies. Individual choice and responsibility are under fire. And, unfortunately, the food industry – despite best efforts to provide safe, nutritious food at affordable prices – is under tremendous pressure to do even more.
Kinsa Group can help you prepare for the changes coming to the food & beverage industry. As recruiters specializing in the food & beverage industry, we can provide quick access to the top Research and Development specialists your organization needs.