Having served in the White House, the Department of Health and Human Services and other organizations with responsibilities for health care public policy, Pamela Bailey, president and chief executive officer of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, brings special fervor to CPG companies’ fight against childhood obesity.
“We are committed to providing parents and children with healthy choices, promoting healthy eating habits, enhancing nutrition knowledge, and supporting new opportunities for physical activity at school, in the workplace and in our neighborhoods,” Bailey told SN.
During her first full year with GMA, Bailey has represented CPG companies through the industry’s launch of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation. The coalition of manufacturers, retailers, associations and non-profits has set the goal to reduce obesity, especially in children, by 2015.
As part of their commitment to the HWCF, GMA members like Campbell Soup Co., Kraft Foods, PepsiCo, The Coca-Cola Co. and others have pledged to reduce annual calories by 1.5 trillion by the end of 2015. The GMA also enthusiastically supports Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign.
Bailey isn’t only interested in changing the way Americans eat, but how they shop. She advocates adoption of a voluntary front-of-pack labeling system that is fact-based and easy to understand.
“Over the next six to eight months, we will be reviewing consumer research and conducting new research in consultation with the FDA and USDA and we expect to reach agreement by the end of the year on what a new label will look like.”
Meanwhile, product safety remains Bailey’s No. 1 priority. Her lobbying efforts helped win broad bipartisan support for the most sweeping food safety reform measures in 50 years, in both the House of Representatives and through the Senate Health, Education and Labor Committee.
“We are now pressing for full Senate passage,” she said.
The Washington, D.C.-based association has also taken the lead as Congress evaluates and modernizes the Toxic Substances Control Act. Modernization of the 30-year-old mechanism for regulating chemicals is particularly important to manufacturers of household and personal care products.
Enhanced retailer-manufacturer collaboration is also supported as a result of the Trading Partner Alliance. The group was established by the GMA and Food Marketing Institute to find ways for trading partners to improve supply chain efficiencies.
“We are already reaping the rewards of this initiative on several fronts, such as better alignment of recall management practices, and the success of our first-ever Joint Industry Supply Chain Conference,” she said.