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Keywords:

  • Industry solutions;
  • snacks;
  • stakeholder dialogue;
  • systems approach

Summary

The current obesity epidemic is generally considered multi-causal. Certain foods, including snacks such as potato chips, and their marketing are often highlighted as needing particular attention. This forces potato chip producers to take position on their role and responsibility. Based on expert interviews and a literature review, a systems analysis approach is presented that distinguishes between basic physiology, self-control and what we call jam transmitters, signals and pressures from the environment that hinder or frustrate self-control. Examples of the latter are commercial push and seduction, obesogenic cultures, obesogenic physical environment, socioeconomic factors, genes, hormones and instincts. Solution of the epidemic demands an approach that involves all factors and all related actors. As for the snacking industry, the comprehensive responses are: to introduce specific diet products; to improve the nutritional quality of its products; the latter combined with supporting and engaging in healthy lifestyle marketing; to practice responsible targeting of marketing; and to limit the promotion of unhealthy consumption patterns.