Monday, November 7, 2011

Sam Kass Speaks To Food Marketing Pros

As the Obama administration struggles to create voluntary principles for advertising food to children, Kass takes the Let's Move! message to content creators...
As the chief ambassador for First Lady Obama's childhood obesity campaign, Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives Sam Kass regularly speaks at food and health policy conferences. But late this afternoon in Washington, DC, he'll be making his first-ever appearance before a group of media professionals, explaining the Let's Move! campaign to food marketing and PR mavens as he gives the keynote address at the International Foodservice Editorial Council (IFEC) conference. (Kass, above)

The IFEC has located its three-day conference in Washington this year because it is specifically focused on food policy, something that is crucial to understand for a membership that's devoted to creating food product placements and food ad campaigns, lobbying campaigns, and editorial content for publications aimed at America's multi-billion dollar grocery, restaurant, agricultural product, and food and beverage sectors. Kass' speech comes as the Obama Administration is in the midst of re-tooling "voluntary principles" to guide food, beverage and media companies in their advertising campaigns aimed at children.

Among other Let's Move! initiatives, Kass is today expected to discuss the major private-sector commitment Mrs. Obama has gotten from America's largest chain restaurant corporation, Darden Restaurants, Inc, to change its menu offerings. Darden's commitment included changes in how it will market foods to the children visiting its thousands of restaurants. He'll also explain the Chefs Move to Schools initiative, and Walmart's partnership with the White House.

In April, the Federal Trade Commission unveiled a sweeping set of "voluntary principles" that included specific nutrition standards for food and beverages marketed to children. But in October, David Vladeck, head of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, testified at a House hearing that FTC is considering "significant revisions" to the proposal, offering a version that's far less stringent, which will cover just the 11-and-under crowd. That came after the food and beverage industry launched an aggressive lobbying campaign against the Administration's proposals, and also issued their own "voluntary" principles in response to the FTC proposal.

A relentless schedule for Kass...
It's been a busy Fall for Kass. He's on TV today, joining the First Lady on "The Nate Berkus Show," an NBC daytimer. Kass did plenty of TV last week too, leading ten different TV anchors on tours through the Kitchen Garden during a White House media day designed especially for local TV affiliates.

In September, Kass spoke at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, and attended a UN High Level Meeting on health policy, and he was featured on The Rachael Ray Show. In October, Kass did a policy conference triple-header, speaking at three policy conferences in three states in three days, and he traveled to Chicago for the first-ever Let's Move! food desert summit. At the end of November, Kass will emcee a special event that's part of Partnership for a Healthier America's first national obesity summit. The First Lady is keynoting the conference.

All of this is in addition to Kass' other Administration duties, such as unveiling MiPlato, the Spanish-language edition of USDA's MyPlate, and his many White House meetings with stakeholders (one example is here). He also still reportedly cooks dinner each night for the First Family, and travels with them.

*Photo by Eddie Gehman Kohan/ObamaFoodorama.com

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