Tackling obesity: what needs to be on your agenda

The ‘triple bottom line’ phrase was coined ten years ago to encourage businesses to adopt a more balanced set of success measures that go well beyond just profit. Since then improvements in social policy and the environment have been highlighted at Nestle, Unilever and Coca Cola amongst others, in Oxfam’s ‘Behind The Brands’ campaign.

And it’s not just Oxfam that has aspirations to influence industry behaviour. The think tank ‘2020health’ has issued its report, ‘Careless eating costs lives’, calling on food businesses to play their part in a cross industry plan to tackle rising obesity rates. It’s a good call to action for the biggest players to join up, but for everyone else it raises questions that are crying out for attention if they are not already on your agenda.

So here are the five things we think should be keeping you awake at night:

  • Looking at product formulation, acting in advance of being called to action, and locking down your rigorous messaging on changes, or status quo, and the rationale for either
  • Recutting your marketing and communications channel choices to lead with an ‘engage and share’ model vs a ‘show and tell’ approach to engender better trust
  • Lining up the right experts and friends in the right places for internal story shaping as well as external storytelling
  • Listening and monitoring for the tipping point – and knowing when it will arrive before it does
  • Preparing to celebrate the fact you are a listening organisation by bringing all your staff on the journey too

You don’t want to be named and shamed as non-compliant players in the sector which we all know is increasingly volatile in terms of change. The risk is that if you don’t think ‘triple bottom line’ and brand character then you might just end up facing a triple threat scenario instead. Customer fail. Staff fail. Reputation fail.