Health, food and industry lobbying
Eating well today has become a struggle, we all want to take care of our health through food.
Isabelle Saporta is a journalist but also an author specializing in the agro-food industry and therefore eating well.
She wrote the black book of agriculture, vino business or “courage “ and was at the school of Jean Pierre Coffe who put him under his wing very early.
The least we can say is that Isabelle does not have her tongue in her pocket and that’s good because the subject of food concerns us all.
Besides, that’s why I wanted to receive it.
There is a very strong trend around eating well. We ask ourselves a lot of questions about what is best for our health without really knowing which way to turn.
Agribusiness: the 1st industry in France
” A healthy mind in a healthy body “, we all have this sentence in mind obviously even if we had lost sight of it in recent decades.
The least we can say is that in recent years, we have taken a closer look.
Vegan restaurants are springing up everywhere, the organic trend has taken hold, gluten intolerance seems to have affected a large part of society, etc….
In fact, as Isabelle reminds us, food is an increasingly important issue in our society.
People want to eat well, but they don’t know how. Standards come in all directions, accompanied by their friends the labels but also marketing concepts to finally get to ask questions such as “fruit extractors” or “blender” … to finally spend 3 hours on forums and other sites specialized (yes it’s real life).
It is therefore interesting to dive back into this trend, particularly in France, a country of “food” if there is one.
For Isabelle, there has been an obvious disconnection between consumers and their plates, shopping has become a chore, eating sometimes a simple necessity, we even come to children more really able to distinguish one vegetable from another.
Everyone (men and women) must therefore return to the stove with pleasure, but also perhaps better educate our children at school or even within the home by going to the market.
Obviously it is an important industry and consequently, the lobbies are particularly active there. The FNSEA is on the front line.
For her, it is necessary to return to the common sense of the farmer, not to move towards intensive industrialization but to make sure that the farmers who produce quality food locally are supported.
Because this creates jobs that cannot be relocated and lasting, happier people, healthier land and above all lower costs if we are interested in the entire chain (water decontamination but also diseases linked to junk food).
Health standards lack logic
Obviously these standards are essential because they allow us to eat healthy food and must protect us.
Nevertheless, the agrifood industry and the politics with it decided that the only solution to feed everyone at low prices must necessarily be through intensive and productivist agriculture.
Therefore, rather than using common sense, we add patches on solutions that are already not ideal.
For example, when we realize that pigs are unhappy on intensive farms, rather than finding an alternative solution (which would consist in leaving them a little more free and especially not alone since they are social animals), we gives anti depressants.
Ditto for the men and women who work on these farms, so almost everyone is on anti-depressants.
And so on, for example with lice on hens on intensive farms …
Isabelle is extremely critical of these standards, which are often set up by the food industry to protect this same intensive agriculture.
The way out: raising awareness to eat better
The solution to eating well remains simple: be as close as possible (short circuit or amap) and eat a product (preferably organic) as less processed as possible.
The question, however, is how to organize this more systematically.
Obviously, according to Isabelle, it would be necessary to rethink the way in which the 10 billion Euros paid by the CAP are used.
For the moment, this money favors intensive agriculture, but if consumers turn away from it, then naturally this money will be allocated more and more to sustainable agriculture.
In the same way, we must be able to think about allowing all French people to eat well and not just those whose purchasing power allows access to organic products.
Thus, a differentiated VAT could make the difference, for example.
In any case, it is obvious that it is ultimately everyone’s action that will make it possible to change the way agriculture is done in France.
Finally, it’s a real political fight that we have on our plate 3 times a day.
Gregory Pouy is the founder of LaMercatique, a digital transformation consulting firm focused on the marketing part. Based between New York and Paris, he is a marketing “expert” for FrenchWeb.fr. To follow his writings and exchange with him