Foodies. It’s an awful word: precious, infantilizing and usually hurled derisively at people who care more about heritage pork than pork-barrel spending. But a new poll suggests that food is a top concern for a majority of Americans, most of whom (thankfully) would never call themselves foodies: Eighty-one percent of voters are very concerned that one-third of children are on track to develop type 2 diabetes, and 69 percent are very concerned that children today are expected to live shorter lives than their parents. A majority—53 percent—said that too many Americans can’t afford healthy food, and better food policy is needed to ensure that everyone has access to nutritious food.
Research in hand, a coalition including Food Policy Action, Union of Concerned Scientists and HEAL Food Alliance launched a campaign called “Plate of the Union” with the goal of putting food policy on the presidential agenda in 2016. “We know now, without a doubt, that people care about this issue,” Tom Colicchio, chef and co-founder of Food Policy Action, said last month at the New York Times Food for Tomorrow conference at Stone Barns Center. “We want candidates running for president to talk about the broken food system, to delve into it and come up with policies that work.”
But does a presidential food campaign make sense?
According to Food Policy Action’s Claire DiMattina, good food is just good politics. Food issues polled extremely high among all likely voters, and they tested even higher among white, suburban women—and white, suburban women often decide elections. Dig into the research in my latest story for the Stone Barns Center — and let me know what you think.