IFST Lecture 2012: Food for a fitter future - consumer choice or industry responsibility?
Download: Presentation PDF
Dr Susan Jebb OBE, gave the 2012 annual IFST lecture on ‘Food for a fitter future - consumer choice or industry responsibility?’ at The Royal Society of Medicine in London.
In her lecture, Dr Jebb reviewed the current situation regarding dietary habits and considered future opportunities to improve the Nation's diet, focusing on the respective roles and responsibilities of consumers and the food industry. She discussed the various initiatives aimed at improving knowledge and motivation to choose a healthier diet, mainly the Public Health Responsibility Deal Food Network, to which she is the Chair of.
Dr Jebb argued that changing dietary habits means intervening in the entire food system and asked: “Who should take the lead in improving the Nation's health – consumers or the food industry?” The evening’s lecture showed this question is extremely complex and to which there is no single answer.
Dr Jebb drew attention a great deal of research done in trying to understand more about health and the choices that consumers make in relation to health, from impulsive human behaviour to portion size (both large and small), as well as the subjects in which more research must be done.
It was an interesting and controversial lecture, which elicited a great deal of discussion afterwards on topics including, but not limited to: food labelling, product reformulation, salt reduction and school meals. The lecture finished with no rigid conclusion but rather, left the audience with a better picture of the how complex this issue is. One concrete message that seemed to encapsulate the evening was, in the words of Dr Jebb herself, “The problem is clear, the solution is not”.