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Conference paper, 2017

The Need for Food Industry Actions and Innovations

Landberg, Rikard; Mark-Herbert, Cecilia


The connection between the abundance of food with high contents of sugar or salt, often expe- rienced as palatable, and childhood obesity is widely recognised. In the report “Ending Child- hood Obesity”, one of the WHO Commission’s main recommendations to the private sector is to “Support the production of … food and non- alcoholic beverages that contribute to a healthy diet”. All data show that too many children drink and eat too much poor food, rich in sugar or fat, and low in nutrients, and that in many settings, this consumption pattern is more fre- quent among vulnerable socioeconomic groups.

Among the stakeholders, the food industry could play a more central role in leading children and their parents towards healthier food patterns through strategic actions, innovations and effec- tive communication. An often cited argument is that the food indus- try has a vested interest in continuing to produce and sell food and beverages that are high in e.g. sugar and salt. But there is also a trend towards more healthy products that contribute to more sustainable business. Do we need policy changes or other interventions to drive and monitor this trend?

Ending childhood obesity can be seen as a wick- ed problem in that it is difficult to solve for a va- riety of reasons. It requires an understanding of the problem’s multi-dimensional complexity and relies on a vast number of stakeholders’ interest in finding solutions. These stakeholders need to contribute in various actions that no single stake- holder could accomplish alone. The workshop delegates represented academia, the public sector, the retailers and the food in- dustry. The proportion of delegates coming from industry was higher in this workshop (30 %), compared with other workshops at the Summit.


Childhood obesity, CSR, food, food industry, innovation, responsibility

Published in

Book title: Ending Childhood Obesity: Actions through Health and Food Equity: Conclusions from Uppsala Health Summit 11-12 October 2016
Publisher: Uppsala University


Uppsala Health Summit

    SLU Authors

    • Landberg, Rikard

      • Chalmers University of Technology
    • Sustainable Development Goals

      SDG9 Industry, innovation and infrastructure

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Business Administration
      Other Health Sciences

      Permanent link to this page (URI)