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Public Support for Nutrition-Related Actions by Food Companies in Australia: A Cross-Sectional Analysis of Findings from the 2020 International Food Policy Study
journal contributionposted on 2023-03-27, 04:03 authored by E Yin, Adrian CameronAdrian Cameron, Sally SchultzSally Schultz, CM White, L Vanderlee, D Hammond, Gary SacksGary Sacks
Unhealthy food environments contribute to unhealthy population diets. In Australia, the government currently relies on voluntary food company actions (e.g., related to front-of-pack labelling, restricting promotion of unhealthy foods, and product formulation) as part of their efforts to improve population diets, despite evidence that such voluntary approaches are less effective than mandatory policies. This study aimed to understand public perceptions of potential food industry nutrition-related actions in Australia. An online survey was completed by 4289 Australians in 2020 as part of the International Food Policy Study. The level of public support was assessed for six different nutrition-related actions related to food labelling, food promotion, and product formulation. High levels of support were observed for all six company actions, with the highest support observed for displaying the Health Star Rating on all products (80.4%) and restricting children’s exposure to online promotion of unhealthy food (76.8%). Findings suggest the Australian public is strongly supportive of food companies taking action to improve nutrition and the healthiness of food environments. However, given the limitations of the voluntary action from food companies, mandatory policy action by the Australian government is likely to be needed to ensure company practices align with public expectations.