Deakin University

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Investigating menu kilojoule labelling policy adoption from a political science perspective

journal contribution
posted on 2019-12-01, 00:00 authored by B Clarke, Boyd SwinburnBoyd Swinburn, Gary SacksGary Sacks
© 2019 Implementation of internationally recommended policy options for obesity prevention has generally been slow and inadequate globally, and, as such, it is important to understand barriers and enablers to policy action in the area. This study aimed to apply political science theories to understand influences on the adoption of Menu Kilojoule Labelling Legislation in Victoria, Australia over the period 2009–2017. Data collection included 13 in-depth semi-structured interviews with participants of the policy development and decision-making processes, analysis of 68 policy documents, and field note observations. Data were analysed using established political science theories: the Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF) and the Multiple Streams Theory (MST). There were numerous and interrelating factors that influenced the Menu Kilojoule Labelling Legislative policy processes. Barriers to policy reform included electoral turnover, a dominance of neoliberal ideology, and policy maker concerns regarding potential food industry backlash. Key enablers to eventual policy change included the accumulation of evidence on policy effectiveness and feasibility of implementation, increased recognition of the importance of tackling the issue, as well as reductions in political risks achieved, in part, through relatively long consultation and negotiation processes. Findings highlight several tactics that can be used to secure similar policy change in future, including generation, dissemination and translation of implementation evidence, effective mobilisation of supporters, and negotiation and consultation processes that can reduce the degree of opposition to proposed policies.



Food Policy



Article number



1 - 12




Amsterdam, The Netherlands





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal