USDA Launches Corporate Challenge on Nutrition

The Snack Food Association President & CEO Jim McCarthy recently attended a Food Industry Roundtable discussion sponsored by the Center for Nutrition Policy & Promotion to promote the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Corporate Challenge to End Childhood Obesity.
As part of the USDA’s Partner with MyPyramid program, the Corporate Challenge program is intended to help families make nutritious food choices.
McCarthy said the SFA is interested in working with the USDA on positive efforts to support good nutrition and balanced diets.
“We recognize that shopping and eating nutritiously can be challenging,” he notes. “However, the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines and MyPyramid can help shoppers make better decisions for their family with more readily-available information.”
Nancy Montanez Johner, Under Secretary of the USDA’s Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, says that food companies can play an important role for the consumer in promoting MyPyramid’s science-based plans for how all foods fit into a well-rounded diet with choices that support a healthy lifestyle.
Under the program, adds Brian Wansink, executive director of the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, food companies and consumer electronic companies will be able to provide opportunities for families “to connect to good nutrition and activity where they work, play and where they purchase and prepare food.”
This, he says, could involve distribution of nutrition information or development of new products and new ways of encouraging physical activity.
Here are some examples of possible industry involvement provided by the USDA:
• Use MyPyramid information on front of package labeling.
• Set up Web site for moms and include ideas for healthy snacking based on MyPyramid and referring them to
• Integrate MyPyramid messaging into product advertising and promotions.
• Distribute a CD Rom of the MyPyramid Menu Planner in food product boxes.
• Include MyPyramid promotion with product ad in weekly newspaper coupon inserts.
• Design a MyPyramid-related contest for consumers to enter.
• Develop and place MyPyramid pop-ups on corporate Web pages and advertising to direct moms to the MyPyramid Menu Planner.
• Use MyPyramid podcasts in promotion activities.
• Formulate new food products to meet the Dietary Guidelines such as new food with higher percentage of whole grains.

More information about the USDA Corporate Challenge to End Childhood Obesity can be found at