The 15 Most Important Moms In the Food Industry
For four years running, the experts over at Daily Meal have researched, deliberated and debated to come up with a list of the 50 most powerful people in America’s food world. What kind of power are we talking about? According to the publication’s Editorial Director, Colman Andrews, it’s:
“The people with power in the food world decide or influence what and how and where and why we eat. Their power is economic, legislative, sometimes inspirational. They're the agribusiness moguls who decide what crops to plant and how to harvest, process, and sell them. They're the heads of major food processing and distribution concerns and retail food outlets (that is, the people who actually put food on our tables). They're the scolds and nannies — and admirable consumer advocates — who tell us what we should and shouldn't eat and why, sometimes upending whole industries in the process…”
Who made Daily Meal’s top five? In order of appearance: Thomas Vilsack, the Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture. Hugh Grant, the Chairman, President, and CEO of the infamous Monsanto Company. Doug McMillion, the President and CEO of Walmart. Michael R. Taylor, the Deputy Commissioner for Foods at the United States Food and Drug Administration. Finally, rounding off the quintet, we have one mom: Indra Nooyi, the Chairman and CEO of Pepsi.
As you make your way down the male-dominated list, you’ll find the trend continues. Here at Elizabeth Street, as you can imagine, we found this underrepresentation of the mom sector a gross miscalculation. When it comes to America’s food, it’s not a man’s world with us women just living in it. The days of The Donna Reed Show may be over, but in many cases its still moms who ultimately decide what makes it to the table when it comes to our families’ own microcosmic food worlds (which, granted, Andrews acknowledges, but isn't reflected so much by Daily Meal's actual roundup).
With this in mind, we turned to our resident food guru, Robyn O’Brien, for some help in setting the record straight. In case you’re not familiar with the name, O’Brien, author of The Unhealthy Truth: How Our Food Is Making Us Sick and What We Can Do About It, is a former food industry analyst and mother of four who brings insight, compassion and detailed analysis to her research into the impact that the global food system is having on the health of our children. She founded the Allergy Kids Foundation and was named by Forbes as one of “20 Inspiring Women to Follow on Twitter.” The New York Times has passionately described her as “Food’s Erin Brockovich” and Dr. Oz, Dr. Bob Sears, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Erin Brockovich, Yoko Ono, and others have critically acclaimed her work. In the past, she’s let us in on what’s really in our kids’ food and the secret to getting our families to live a healthy lifestyle.
Now, without further ado, click through the slideshow above for our list of the fifteen moms in food who deserve some recognition!
By Cordelia Tai