Food industry gets defensive about Sundance documentary ‘Fed Up’
Published: January 21, 2014 12:51PM
Updated: January 21, 2014 01:05PM
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A scene from "Fed Up." Courtesy Sundance Institute

The Grocery Manufacturers Association went on the defensive Tuesday, two days after the premiere of The Sundance Film Festival documentary “Fed Up.”

The film, directed by Stephanie Soechtig and produced and narrated by veteran TV newswoman Katie Couric, puts much of the blame for America’s childhood obesity epidemic on large food companies and the federal government.

Sean McBride, the Association’s executive vice president of communications and membership, released the following statement in response to film:

“Our companies have been trusted by generations of families to provide products that are affordable, time-saving, nutritious and well-balanced. This is a responsibility that we take seriously and will never forget,”

“Whether it is new packaging or new ways to prepare our products, or introducing low sodium, low fat and organic foods, we are constantly working to provide the products that empower all consumers to make the choices that are right for them and their families.

“America’s food and beverage companies enthusiastically support First Lady Michelle Obama’s goal of solving childhood obesity within a generation, and recognize that the challenge of reducing obesity is one that requires everyone to do their part. For the food and beverage industry, this means constantly working to increase transparency and provide consumers—especially parents—with healthier options and the information they need to maintain a healthy diet and active lifestyle.”

The statement also lists the proactive measures to food and beverage industry has taken to help improve America’s dietary choices including:

• Introducing more than 20,000 new product choices with fewer calories, reduced fat, sodium and sugar, and more whole grains.

• Removing 6.4 trillion calories from the U.S. marketplace since 2007, a decline that translates to a reduction of 78 calories per person, per day in the U.S.

• Adopting strict advertising criteria so the ads seen on children’s programming now promote healthier diet choices and better-for-you products.

• Launching Facts Up Front a front-of-pack nutrition labeling system designed to help busy consumers – especially parents – make informed decisions when they shop.

• Contributing more than $130 million per year in grants to nutrition and health-related programs in hundreds of communities across the United States.

Based in Washington,D.C., the Grocery Manufacturers Association is the voice of more than 300 leading food, beverage and consumer product companies.