is moving forward through the efforts of corporations that are willing to make changes to engage consumers in achieving healthy lifestyles. This will require the broad involvement of many sectors and stakeholders, including food, beverage, and restaurant companies; food retailers; trade associations; the leisure, recreation, and fitness industries; the entertainment industry; and the media (IOM, 2005, 2006).
Wansink and Huckabee (2005) have proposed three phases for the food and restaurant industries’ and trade associations’ response to the obesity epidemic. The first phase is to deny that they have a contributing role in the obesity epidemic by associating increasing obesity rates with the rising levels of physical inactivity and sedentary lifestyles. The second phase is to appeal to consumer sovereignty by emphasizing moderation and consumer choice in their food and beverage intake, promoting physical activity, and asserting the rights of customers to decide on the appropriate selections for their own or their families’ lifestyles. The third phase is to develop win-win strategies that are profitable and that therefore satisfy company shareholder needs while concurrently meeting consumers’ needs for healthful products, portion control, and other steps that can lead them toward healthy lifestyles. Wansink and Huckabee (2005) have suggested several different types of changes that food, beverage, and restaurant companies can consider making and pilot testing to offer products that are both healthful to consumers and profitable (Table 5-1).
Several groups have offered suggestions and guidelines to the food industry and restaurant sector to help them provide healthier food, beverage, and meal options. The American Heart Association’s 2006 Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations provide several tailored recommendations specifically for these industry sectors (Lichtenstein et al., 2006; Box 5-4). The Keystone Forum on Away-From-Home Foods, supported by the FDA, also provides detailed recommendations on how consumers can make more healthful choices and what restaurants and food retailers can do to cater to consumer choices (Keystone Center, 2006). The following sections highlight some examples of changes that are in progress, many of which need to be evaluated. The committee highlights promising practices and raises issues relevant to increasing corporate involvement in this issue.
Many industry leaders are testing a variety of new product development strategies, such as incorporating more nutritious ingredients into products (e.g., whole grains) and expanding healthier meal options at full serve restaurants and QSRs (e.g., fruit, salads, and low-fat yogurt). Making small changes to existing products to improve their healthfulness and continuing