Lunch Time Lecture Dr. Gyorgy Scrinis on ‘Big Food Corporations’ Nutritional Strategies in Response to Under- and Over- Nutrition’

NutritionismEveryone is welcome to an open lecture by Dr. Gyorgy Scrinis.

Monday June 29, 2015
12:30 – 13:30
Room C71   (Leeuwenborch)
Bring your lunch

The world’s largest food and beverage manufacturing corporations (i.e. Big Food) have responded to recent health concerns associated with their processed foods by developing and marketing a range of ‘healthy’ or ‘healthier’ products. In this lecture, Dr Gyorgy Scrinis identifies three nutritional strategies that define these corporations’ nutritional engineering and marketing strategies:

  • the micronutrient fortification of foods to address nutrient deficiencies, particularly targeted at developing countries;
  • the reformulation of products to reduce harmful food components; and
  • the ‘functionalisation’ of foods marketed as providing optimal nutrition through addition of functional nutrients.

These nutritional strategies draw their scientific legitimacy from what Dr Scrinis calls the ideology of nutritionism – the reductive focus on and interpretation of nutrients. In this lecture he will examine the ways in which Big Food corporations have captured or appropriated these nutritional strategies and discourses as a means of growing the market for their products, as well as to avoid more restrictive government regulations.

Dr Gyorgy Scrinis is a Lecturer in Food and Nutrition Politics and Policy in the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Melbourne. He is the author of Nutritionism: The Science and Politics of Dietary Advice (Columbia University Press, 2013). More information:

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About FoodGovernance

Jessica Duncan is Associate Professor in Rural Sociology at Wageningen University (the Netherlands). She holds a PhD in Food Policy from City University London (2014). Jessica’s main research focus concerns the practices and politics of participation in food policy processes, particularly the relationships (formal and non-formal) between governance organizations, systems of food provisioning, the environment, and the actors engaged in and across these spaces. More specifically, she maps the diverse ways that actors participate in policy-making processes, analysing how the resulting policies are shaped, implemented, challenged, and resisted, and she theorizes about what this means for socio-ecological transformation. Participation and engagement is at the core of her approach. In turn, she is active in a broad range of local, national and international initiatives with the aim of better understanding participation processes with a view towards transitioning to just and sustainable food systems. She is involved in several research projects including ROBUST, HortEco & SHEALTHY. Jessica is published regularly in academic journals. She recently co-edited the Handbook on Sustainable and Regenerative Food Systems (2020). Her other books include Food Security Governance: Civil society participation in the Committee on World Food Security (2015) and an edited volume called Sustainable food futures: Multidisciplinary solutions (2017). Jessica has received several awards for her teaching and in 2017 she was awarded Teacher of the Year for Wageningen University (shortlisted again in 2018 and 2019, longlisted in 2020). With the funds she has received for these awards she launched a story-telling workshop for students and faculty, with storytelling trainer, Emma Holmes. Jessica is on the Editorial Board of the journal Sociologia Ruralis and is an advisor to the Traditional Cultures Project (USA). She is a member of the Wageningen Young Academy and sits on the Sustainability Board of Experts at Wageningen University.