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Table 2 Mechanisms and arguments used by the sample of food industry actors to frame the debate on diet- and public health-related issues in Australia

From: Systematic examination of publicly-available information reveals the diverse and extensive corporate political activity of the food industry in Australia

   Australian Food and Grocery Council Coca Cola McDonald’s Nestle Woolworths
Mechanisms Arguments Example of arguments identified during data collection
Shift the blame away from the food industry Personal responsibility – people need to have a balanced diet and there are no bad food products, only bad diets “[There is a] well established paradigm that an individual’s good health is dependent upon a balanced diet” (A26) “Coke can be consumed as part of a sensible, balanced diet” (A113) “[When kids eat a] mix of foods – (…) does it balance out with (…) energy requirements?” (A175) “The basic principle in nutrition [is] that there are no ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods but rather ‘good’ and ‘bad’ diets” (A203) “The importance of a balanced diet” (A304)
Personal responsibility – people need to be more active and balance kilojoules in and out (focus on obesity rather than NCDs) “The health risks associated with obesity are largely controlled if a person is physically active and physically fit” (A29) “We know that you’ve got to balance kilojoules in with kilojoules out” (A111) “If your school or club (…) requires equipment, uniforms or something else that encourages participation in sport, we are happy to help” (A171) The Nestle Healthy Kids Program contains a lot of information on physical activity (A205) Not identified
Promote the good intentions and stress the good traits of the food industry Industry provides safe products “AFGC advocates a positive role for the food, beverage and grocery industry in providing safe products to consumers” (A32) Not identified “Providing customers with safe food is our first priority and our most critical responsibility” (A172) “As an industry, we’re showing we’re credible partners, going beyond using our scientific knowhow to put micronutrients safely in a product and ensure they’re preserved until the end of its shelf life” (A194) Not identified
Emphasise the food industry’s actions to address public health-related issues Industry promotes healthy lifestyles “The food industry [is] already actioning plan to (…) encourage healthy lifestyle choices” (A35) Not identified “Mac Pack: a sporting movement for kids promoting healthy living through fun and play” (A169) “The Nestle Good Life Program is a group of community initiatives (…) promoting active lifestyles” (A206) Not identified
Industry is part of the solution “Obesity and overweight is a major issue globally. (…) AFGC and the entire food and grocery manufacturing industry are committed to being part of the solution to this critical issue” (A 32) “We just want to be part of the solution” (A111) Not identified “We believe that we have a shared responsibility” (A207) “We have an important role to play in promoting balanced and healthy eating habits that support a healthy lifestyle” (A304)
Industry is an expert in diet- and public health-related issues Not identified Not identified Not identified “To have the greatest possible impact [with our Nestle Good Life Program], we focus on areas where we believe we can add the most value: food, nutrition, and health and wellness. These are areas where we can best contribute our expertise, scientific insight and decades of experience” (A206) Not identified
Industry provides healthy/healthier versions of its products “To help people achieve this balance, industry provides a range of nutritious products, in a variety of portion sizes with low-joule, low-fat, low-sugar and low-salt foods available” (A32) “We continue to make positive changes. Here’s just a taste of what we’ve achieved.
1. Increasing the availability of our smaller portion sizes.
2. Offering more low kilojoule options”
Not identified Not identified “We have already made significant steps to promote healthy diets to Australian shoppers” (A304)
Personal responsibility – Industry provides information “We aim to empower people and communities to make informed choices to improve the health of their families” (A31) “More information equals more informed consumers, and we believe informed consumers are the ones that make the best decisions for themselves and their families” (A121) “Happy Meal Choices menu (…) enables parents and children to select meal components to suit individual tastes and dietary requirements” (A170, A178) “Nestle aims to help parents and children make healthier choices, running cookery schools and educational programmes around the world” (A213) “We strongly believe our customers should have access to a full suite of nutritional information to enable them to make informed decisions when selecting groceries” (A306)