In response to growing pressure from eaters who want healthier food, governments that want to take action to protect public health and reduce the costs of diet-related diseases, and competitive markets that jeopardize profits, global big food companies have launched a multi-pronged campaign to protect their interests. One element of this campaign is to use nutrition science to justify its actions, a process that some have called “nutritionism”. Nutritionism provides a halo for corporations, legitimizes existing and growing markets for highly processed foods, and helps to preempt and deter direct government regulation. Three key strategies food companies use to practice nutritionism are fortification, reformulation, and functionalization. In a talk at the City University of New York School of Public Health entitled “Nutritionism, Big Food and the Corporate Capture of Nutrition”, Gyorgy Scrinis, Senior Lecturer in Food Politics and Policy at the University of Melbourne, analyzed how corporations use nutrition and nutritonism to advance their business interests. Gyorgy is also the author of Nutritonism The Science and Politics of Dietary Advice (Columbia University Press, 2013.) View the presentation.
Read a related article: Scinis, G. Reformulation, fortification and functionalization: Big Food corporations’ nutritional engineering and marketing strategies, The Journal of Peasant Studies 2016; 43 (1):17-37.