Consumers as the Agents of Change

In the video below we hear from Fedele Bauccio, founder and CEO of Bon Appetit Management. His company has built its reputation on locally sourced, seasonal, healthy foods, and is actively involved in sustainability issues affecting every aspect of the food industry.

Bauccio explains that change in food safety and sustainability practices won't come through legislative channels because the industry lobbies are too powerful. He believes that education and providing choices to consumers will ultimately make the difference as today's young people learn about food health and safety, then make more informed choices as they grow up and feed their own children.

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Isaac Pino: On that idea and that objective, Michelle Obama has been an advocate and a supporter of an initiative around anti-obesity. Do you think she's done a good job with that, overall?

Fedele Bauccio: Yeah, she's done an amazing job to at least enlighten people to say, "This is a huge issue, and we've got to do something about it."

Slowly, we're getting a little bit more money for schools, especially the charter schools, and the other schools, the school districts of young people.

I really believe that this food revolution that we're in today might take another generation in order for consumers to really ask the right questions: "Where does it come from? How do I know it's safe? Is it good for my body?"

Once that happens and you have children of your own, and you understand this, you're going to start to see this take hold.

We're not going to legislate change of nontherapeutic antibiotics. I've already spoken in front of Congress a number of times. It doesn't do any good. That lobby is huge and very powerful, but I think consumers, with their pocketbook and asking the right questions, will be able to make change.

I think Michelle Obama has heightened the audience, to be able to say, "This is a big problem."

One of the things I have to be careful about -- we have to be careful about -- is that we don't want to be the Food Police. I don't want to tell you what you can or cannot eat. That's up to you. All I want to do is give you choices.

I think we have a responsibility to message to those customers we serve, "Here's what we think," and then you decide for yourself what you put into your body. I think that's our role.


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