1st Edition

Big Food Critical perspectives on the global growth of the food and beverage industry

Edited By Simon Williams, Marion Nestle Copyright 2016
    166 Pages
    by Routledge

    166 Pages
    by Routledge

    Obesity is a global public health problem of crucial importance. Obesity rates remain high in high-income countries and are rapidly increasing in low- and middle- income countries. Concurrently, the global consumption of unhealthy products, such as soft drinks and processed foods, continues to rise. The ongoing expansion of multinational food and beverage companies, or ‘Big Food’, is a key factor behind these trends.

    This collection provides critical insight into the global expansion of ‘Big Food’, including its incursion into low-and-middle income countries. It examines the changing dynamics of the global food supply, and discusses how low-income countries can alter the ‘Big Food’-diet from the bottom-up. It examines a number of issues related to ‘Big Food’ marketing strategies, including the way in which they advertise to youths and the rural poor. These issues are discussed in terms of their public health implications, and their relation to public health activities, for example ‘soda taxes’, and the promotion of nutritionally-healthier products. This book was originally published as a special issue of Critical Public Health.

    Introduction – ‘Big Food’: taking a critical perspective on a global public health problem Simon N. Williams and Marion Nestle

    1. The transitional dynamics of caloric ecosystems: changes in the food supply around the world Sanjay Basu

    2. Big Food without big diets? Food regimes and Kenyan diets K. O’Neill

    3. Density of outdoor food and beverage advertising around schools in Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia) and Manila (The Philippines) and implications for policy Bridget Kelly, Lesley King, Batjargal Jamiyan, Nyamragchaa Chimedtseren, Bolorchimeg Bold, Victoria M. Medina, Sarah J. De los Reyes, Nichel V. Marquez, Anna Christine P. Rome, Ariane Margareth O. Cabanes, John Juliard Go, Tsogzolmaa Bayandorj, Marie Clem B. Carlos and Cherian Varghese

    4. Snack food advertising in stores around public schools in Guatemala Violeta Chacon, Paola Letona, Eduardo Villamor and Joaquin Barnoya

    5. The incursion of ‘Big Food’ in middle-income countries: a qualitative documentary case study analysis of the soft drinks industry in China and India Simon N. Williams

    6. Comparison of food industry policies and commitments on marketing to children and product (re)formulation in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji Gary Sacks, Melissa Mialon, Stefanie Vandevijvere, Helen Trevena, Wendy Snowdon, Michelle Crino and Boyd Swinburn

    7. Encouraging big food to do the right thing for children’s health: a case study on using research to improve marketing of sugary cereals Jennifer L. Harris, Megan E. LoDolce and Marlene B. Schwartz

    8. Big Soda’s long shadow: news coverage of local proposals to tax sugar-sweetened beverages in Richmond, El Monte and Telluride Laura Nixon, Pamela Mejia, Andrew Cheyne and Lori Dorfman

    9. ‘Big Food’ and ‘gamified’ products: promotion, packaging, and the promise of fun Charlene Elliott

    10. Food as pharma: marketing nutraceuticals to India’s rural poor Alice Street


    Simon N. Williams is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department for Medical Social Sciences, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois, USA. His research focuses on how public health policy can help to regulate the rapid growth in the consumption of unhealthy products, including soft drinks and tobacco.

    Marion Nestle is Paulette Goddard Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University, New York City, USA, and the author of three prize-winning books: Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health (2007); Safe Food: The Politics of Food Safety (2010); and What to Eat (2007).