If Vice President Biden’s election is confirmed, we anticipate a somewhat more assertive regulatory posture in certain areas to develop over time.
As some of you may recall, the Obama Administration was very active on nutrition issues. Participants will recall that First Lady Michelle Obama was very engaged on those issues.
One item that remains pending from that initiative is a definition of the term “healthy.” The outcome of this rulemaking is tremendously important to many of our clients, not just because they want to understand the definition, but because they need certainty around the question. We don’t know with any certainty why it has been held so long, but, if politics had anything to do with it, that may no longer be an issue as of Tuesday.
Another key issue in the food space is the rapidly growing market for alternative proteins. Plant-based meat alternatives are so popular and mainstream you can get them for breakfast at Dunkin Doughnuts and for lunch at Burger King.
The next shoe to drop in this space is cultured meat. We are still years away from seeing cultured meat in our grocery stores, but the day is coming. While the regulatory jurisdictional tussle between United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and FDA was resolved a while ago, we should watch for legislative activity in this space. These products are true market disrupters, which will impact quite a few stakeholders.
Please note that on general nutrition claims, some people thought the Trump Administration would do more to relax requirements than it actually has. The dietary guidelines update is still pending. Last time they came out in late January.