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Analysis of corporate political activity strategies of the food industry: evidence from France

  • Melissa Mialon (a1) and Jonathan Mialon (a2)
Abstract
Objective

To identify the corporate political activity (CPA) of major food industry actors in France.

Design

We followed an approach based on information available in the public domain. Different sources of information, freely accessible to the public, were monitored.

Setting/Subjects

Data were collected and analysed between March and August 2015. Five actors were selected: ANIA (Association Nationale des Industries Agroalimentaires/National Association of Agribusiness Industries); Coca-Cola; McDonald’s; Nestlé; and Carrefour.

Results

Our analysis shows that the main practices used by Coca-Cola and McDonald’s were the framing of diet and public health issues in ways favourable to the company, and their involvement in the community. ANIA primarily used the ‘information and messaging’ strategy (e.g. by promoting deregulation and shaping the evidence base on diet- and public health-related issues), as well as the ‘policy substitution’ strategy. Nestlé framed diet and public health issues, and shaped the evidence base on diet- and public health-related issues. Carrefour particularly sought involvement in the community.

Conclusions

We found that, in 2015, the food industry in France was using CPA practices that were also used by other industries in the past, such as the tobacco and alcohol industries. Because most, if not all, of these practices proved detrimental to public health when used by the tobacco industry, we propose that the precautionary principle should guide decisions when engaging or interacting with the food industry.

Copyright
Corresponding author
* Corresponding author: Email melissa_mialon@hotmail.fr
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