Research Project

Governing Harmful Commodities: The Case of Ultra-Processed Foods

This is an international collaboration project which brings Australian National University, Mahidol University and Fiji National University working together. We aim to address an important missing piece in the evidence base concerning how to effect the development and implementation of inter-sectoral policy that promotes good nutrition – governance in Australia, Fiji and Thailand.

About the study

Little government action has taken place in reducing excessive intakes of ultra-processed foods (UPF) which have contributed to the significant rise in noncommunicable diseases in Asia Pacific and worldwide. This is partly due to the corporate political activity of UPF industry which has successfully stalled good food policies, plus competing agendas from health and economic policy, and a disconnection between the multiple sectors involved in governing food systems.

We aim to answer questions about power and how ideas, norms, institutional rules and relationships between actors can be used to rebalance power in policy making for better nutrition outcomes.

We will undertake a governance analysis, first identifying where the power lies by ascertaining the actors who are influential in three key areas of policy making (trade/taxation/marketing) in relation to UPF, in Australia, Fiji and Thailand. Then we will investigate what kinds of strategies the different actors have successfully used to pursue their interests, and what strategies might be used to advance nutrition goals in the future.

We will provide an evidence base of ways in which institutions and organizations can be used to promote better governance and policy that leads to good nutrition outcomes.

Timeframe                       

3 years (2019-2022)

Core research team

  • Professor Sharon Friel     The Australian National University (Chief investigator)  
  • Dr Sirinya Phulkerd          Mahidol University (Associate investigator)  
  • Dr Jillian Wate                  Fiji National University (Associate investigator)  

Funding     

An Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery grant

Contact us

Sirinya Phulkerd


Project Period:     2019-2022

Project Status:     On Process
Principal Investigator: Sharon Friel , Sirinya Phulkerd , Jillian Wate