For many critics, the group is the epitome of a profitable food industry that ignores people, the planet and the climate. A German at the head of the group wants to change that. Really now?
By Uwe Ritzer
June 3, 2019 has a good chance of appearing in retrospect on the tenure of the outgoing Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture. Not as a lucky day for Julia Klöckner, but because of a bad PR incident. That day, the ministry released a video clip in which the CDU politician appeared with Marc-Aurel Boersch, Nestlé’s head for Germany. As lobbyists for the world’s largest food company behind the scenes at huge cost prevent a sugar tax, binding reduction targets for fattening foods or mandatory labeling for unhealthy foods, the minister celebrated in the Nestlé clip for having supported “our strategy of innovation and reduction, less sugar, less salt, less fat”. A storm of ridicule and wickedness descended on Klöckner. To this day, critics see the video as the submissive submission of German food policy to the food industry.