research arena. The second bucket of potential collaborative activity is filled with activities that work “in parallel” to the marketing of products. Again, it is unlikely that individual companies are going to collaborate in marketing their products, but a number of parallel activities, such as social marketing or the sharing of information about the relationship between marketing and behavior, could be undertaken collaboratively. The third bucket is filled with “results,” or evaluation, of previous activities. For example, what is it about particular regulatory, research, or marketing processes that leads to certain results? He said, “All three of those areas have many opportunities for unthreatening, if you will, collaborative work.”
Additionally, as mentioned earlier, McGinnis identified four common interests among the different sectors that not only are appropriate for, but necessitate, collaborative action: (1) assessment (e.g., pooling data on eating habits and the impact of eating habits on weight and health status); (2) research (e.g., developing a common research agenda aimed at understanding variation in basic caloric requirements); (3) marketing (e.g., synergizing social marketing strategies aimed at improving healthy eating); and (4) vision (e.g., working together to develop a vision of what is possible). In McGinnis’s opinion, it is our “our obligation” to start with the assumption that action in any of these four areas “has to be collaborative” and to undertake these activities at the individual level only if collaborative efforts fail. He urged, “Our starting point should be that any activity in these arenas ought to be a collaborative effort.” With respect to tangible next steps, he suggested that Food Forum members consider establishing working groups to propose and assess possible collaborative projects, including possible participants, and the appropriate neutral venue or body to convene and coordinate them.