Let’s Re-imagine Food and Health in America
Be The Change…
The March-April 2022 edition of the Harvard Business Review (HBR) spotlights, “What is the Purpose of Your Purpose?” The article notes that while purpose has been something of a fad, there are three ways purpose is being used: competence (“the function that our product serves”); culture (“the intent with which we run our business”); and cause (“the social good to which we aspire”).
Of the three, cause-based purpose garners the most attention as it often addresses needed societal change which resonates with consumers. HBR cautions that while ESG performance is good for business it is distinct from the purpose of a business. To better understand purpose alignment within an organization, HBR provides three key rules to determine which type of purpose is right for a company:
- Don’t rally around a cause unless you actually have one
- A strong culture is often all you need
- Don’t delegate purpose to the marketing team alone
Purpose is about the essence of the company and must meet the needs of customers, employees, suppliers, communities and shareholders. Purpose also needs to be credible, authentic and aligned to people (culture), processes and products. HBR outlines four critical questions organizations should ask themselves:
- How can purpose increase consumers’ preference for our products and services?
- How can purpose strengthen the connection that employees feel to the work and to one another?
- How can purpose help reinforce our reputation as a good corporate citizen and a strong ESG performer?
- How can purpose enhance our opportunities for profitable growth and reduce business risk?
The food industry has been under increased scrutiny to make more nutritious food on a global basis. Last year, the World Benchmarking Alliance ranked the top 350 food companies on the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Another critical global index – the Access to Nutrition Initiative (ATNI) is expected to release a U.S. Spotlight Index this year. This index will focus on the nutrition performance of 11 US-based food companies.
Campbell Soup Co. appears to be stepping up their nutrition portfolio by launching a set of nutrition standards for their new and existing products. The metrics focus on increasing “positive nutrients,” reducing “negative nutrients,” and making healthy food more accessible and affordable.
This initiative sets limits and is aimed at reducing calories, saturated fats, trans fat, sodium and added sugar. The company also wants to ensure that each food product contains at least one positive nutrient, including protein, fiber, vitamins A, C and D, potassium, calcium, iron, vegetables, fruit and whole grains.
NIH AWARDS $170 MILLION ON PRECISION NUTRITION
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced it is awarding $170 million over five years to look closer at how individuals respond to food and dietary routines. This is an important step forward in dietary guidance which is traditionally based on population health recommendations.
This initiative calls on researchers to take a deeper dive into an individual’s genetics, gut microbes, lifestyle and biological makeup plus external social and environmental factors. The end goal is to inform personalized nutrition recommendations.
The scope of the Nutrition for Precision Health (NPH) which is part of the All of Us Research Program is impressive and will recruit 10,000 research participants from the NIH’s All of Us Research Program. This research grant also includes 11 new research awards and will be instrumental in rethinking future dietary guidance.