Blog: Government intervention - right or wrong?
Dean Best | 22 October 2007
Obesity was back on the front pages here in the UK last week as the latest report into the state of the nation’s waistline was unveiled.
The findings won’t have surprised anyone too much – the country is getting morbidly obese, costing us millions in healthcare and our children, in particular, are at risk.
The majority of health campaigners, however, will feel disappointed that this latest investigation didn’t come packaged up with a clearer set of proposals on how to combat this crisis. The industry meanwhile will no doubt have been un-nerved by the change in emphasis in the report. Targeting individual responsibility, it basically said, had not worked and a top-down approach was needed. As I said, no particular policy options were mentioned, but my feeling was that increased regulation will be the natural outcome from these conclusions.
Far-reaching government intervention will have its critics. However, there was an example in Norway this week of a way the authorities could participate whole-heartedly in this debate without appearing draconian. The Norwegian Department of Health (DoH) has commenced legislative work to introduce a National Health Brand for food products by the end of 2008. The legislation, led by Health Minister Sylvia Brustad, will include the "broadest input from the foods industry and other interest groups" to establish a brand and brand logo. Let’s here your views on this. Can it work?
The issue of government intervention will have split the food industry in France, meanwhile, with the findings of the Attali report into the retail sector causing great controversy. Attali's suggestion that removing retail planning restrictions or legalising below-cost selling would kick-start the retail economy has been challenged by food maunfacturers.
Elsewhere, it’s been a more positive few days for the food industry. Retail sales in the UK seem to have bounced back after a poor summer. And, in order to leave you on a positive note, it's worth mentioning that despite rising costs and difficult consumer conditions at present, two of our industry’s powerhouses, Danone and Nestle, are enjoying buoyant sales.
Danone completed its US$12.5bn acquisition of WhiteWave Foods this week. The move will roughly double Danone's presence in North America, where WhiteWave is a top four dairy player. ...
Premier Foods plc revealed today (28 March) it has secured a deal with its pension scheme trustees that will see the UK food maker reduce its pension burden....
Hain Celestial, under the scrutiny of the investment community in recent months and facing some challenges in its domestic market, has announced another shuffling of its management pack....
FrieslandCampina, which today served up higher profits but lower sales for 2016, is ready to offload the last non-dairy business owned by the Dutch cooperative giant....
- Analysis: Post discusses rationale for Weetabix
- Interview: Sir Kensington's on sale to Unilever
- Who will buy Danone's Stonyfield business?
- Column: Why snacking is the new meal
- US food next wave on display at Winter Fancy Food
- Unilever buys US condiments maker Sir Kensington's
- Ice cream helps Unilever sales, food flat
- Nestle organic growth slows but beats expectations
- Suntory to offload Australia, New Zealand foods
- Post: Weetabix "opens up M&A opportunities"