In the present study, we used a structured approach based on publicly available information to identify the corporate political activity (CPA) strategies of three major actors in the dairy industry in France.
We collected publicly available information from the industry, government and other sources over a 6-month period, from March to August 2015. Data collection and analysis were informed by an existing framework for classifying the CPA of the food industry.
Our study included three major actors in the dairy industry in France: Danone, Lactalis and the Centre National Interprofessionnel de l’Economie Laitière (CNIEL), a trade association.
During the period of data collection, the dairy industry employed CPA practices on numerous occasions by using three strategies: the ‘information and messaging’, the ‘constituency building’ and the ‘policy substitution’ strategies. The most common practice was the shaping of evidence in ways that suited the industry. The industry also sought involvement in the community, establishing relationships with public health professionals, academics and the government.
Our study shows that the dairy industry used several CPA practices, even during periods when there was no specific policy debate on the role of dairy products in dietary guidelines. The information provided here could inform public health advocates and policy makers and help them ensure that commercial interests of industry do not impede public health policies and programmes.