By Krystal Register, MS, RDN, LDN, Senior Director, Health & Well-being, FMI, and Madalyn Farrar, Manager, Government Relations, FMI

White House Conference Report CoverA few months ago, the White House announced plans for its Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health this Fall, acknowledging, “It will take all of us to end hunger and reduce diet-related diseases and disparities surrounding them.” The Biden-Harris administration asked to hear ideas and stories from all Americans, offered up listening sessions across the country, and provided an avenue to directly submit input to help inform the White House as they develop a National Strategy.

We recognize that the food industry has an important role to play. We also recognize that FMI members work diligently every day to deliver safe and nourishing food, while also striving to align with the White House focus on improving food access and affordability, integrating nutrition and health, and empowering all consumers to make and have access to healthy choices – whether in the grocery store, online or in the community.

So first, we called on FMI members near and far – food retailers, wholesalers and suppliers – to participate in regular meetings, attend listening sessions, and share updates. We collected insights, recommendations and examples about nutrition programs, health and well-being initiatives and community partnerships.

Then, we hosted a convening on July 13 to gather additional feedback and to hear more about challenges and creative solutions. Through this process, we have identified a number of opportunities to leverage the collective strength of our industry to seek to end hunger, increase access to nutritious foods, and empower all Americans to make more informed decisions to improve their health. With our members, FMI is committed to working to improve food access and affordability, increase food donations, leverage federal feeding programs, integrate nutrition and health across the industry, expand Food as Medicine initiatives in the food retail setting, strengthen public-private partnerships, encourage business innovation, empower consumers to make healthy choices and promote family meals that emphasize nutrient-dense foods in all forms that align with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.   

Now, we are pleased to share our collective report which outlines action recommendations for the government, noted challenges and baseline commitments, all supported by member examples that align with the White House goals. This report is just the start of the true industry-wide collaborative effort, and we look forward to continued work with members to further develop actionable commitments with metrics to support the work of the Conference.

At our member convening, Chairman Jim McGovern (D-MA) shared his appreciation for FMI and our members’ long-term commitment to ending hunger and improving the health and lives of all Americans. Chairman McGovern was the author of the legislation to establish the White House Conference. In his words, “Grocers serve as convenient destinations for food access – and they can help policymakers bridge the gap between food and nutrition insecurity to build healthier, hunger-free communities across the country. I am encouraged by FMI’s commitment to partnering with the federal government to find permanent solutions to this issue – let’s come together and develop a road map to finally end hunger in this country.”    

Download the Collective Report