Barilla expands nutrition efforts to the US

PARMA, ITALY: Italian food company Barilla has expanded its Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition (BCFN) efforts to include the US.

PARMA, ITALY: Italian food company Barilla has expanded its Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition (BCFN) efforts to include the US.

The company created the BCFN in Italy in 2009 to focus on environmental, social, and economic themes around the world. The company said this week that it will include the US in research and discussion at the BCFN.

APCO Worldwide executed the announcement event for the BCFN. Edelman, the center's US agency partner, handled all media and consumer outreach in the US, and Burson-Marsteller, its global agency partner for the BCFN, is managing international PR and communications.

“We thought that it was very important to introduce the BCFN formally to the decision makers and the opinion makers in the US,” said Luca Virginio, head of communications and external relations at Barilla.

The BCFN creates an annual program based on global priorities, Virginio added. This year, the center is focusing on obesity.

“One out of 10 people in this world is obese, and the data in the US is alarming because more than 50% of US people are overweight or obese, and what is more drastic is the rate is even worse when you look at children,” he said.

The BCFN will also focus on the number of people in the world who die of starvation. He said “one of the big paradoxes and big challenges” the globe has to deal with is how large numbers of people have no access to food, while more than 50 million die from obesity-related diseases each year.

Spreading knowledge of these important health issues to consumers and influencers is a priority to the BCFN, said Virginio.

“One of the rules since the beginning was that for any dollar that we spend on the scientific side of the BCFN, we have to spend at least $1 in communication to make sure that everybody knows what we are doing,” Virginio explained.

Every year at the end of November, the center hosts an international forum in Italy, where all interested parties, including press outlets, can attend to learn about the most recent research and developments made at the BCFN.

“Our dream is that over the years this forum will become an internationally reputed forum where all the best brains will go to discuss food and nutrition topics,” said Virginio.

The center also offers all of its materials for free download on its website in English, Italian, and French.

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