The Daily Meal, a culinary publication focused on dining news and trends, has published its seventh annual ranking of what it considers to be the 50 most powerful people in food. At #13, Pamela Bailey, president and CEO of GMA, which is an editorial partner of QA magazine, is in good company, with personalities such as Oprah (#46), Guy Fieri (#50), and the son of Jimmy Hoffa -- the Teamsters James Hoffa (#23).
The top 5 on the list are John Mackey/Whole Foods, #5, Michael Taylor/former FDA, #4; Hugh Grant/Monsanto, #3; Greg Foran/Walmart President/CEO, #2. And at #1 is Michael Scuse, Acting Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture, selected because the 100,000-employee, $155-billion agency “plays a vital role in how we perceive and interact with food, overseeing the country's food safety systems and setting nutritional guidelines in an era when farm incomes are falling and debt levels are rising.”
As the Daily Meal article states, “Some who have power in the food world have it literally — the power to make laws, disrupt the marketplace, control supply chains. Others exercise it in more subtle ways: They are the watchdogs, the inspirers, the facilitators.”
The publication developed the list based on a combination of previous years’ lists (originally selected through research, analyses, and expert consultation) and new candidates drawn from its editorial coverage. Each nominee was then graded on four criteria: the number of people directly reached; the number of ways in which the candidate interacts with consumers; the candidate's past accomplishments and potential for future accomplishments; and a proven ability to reach and influence people through his or her actions. In some cases, it’s the office that holds the true power, so it’s likely that FDA Acting Commissioner of Food and Drugs Dr. Stephen Ostroff should be listed rather than, or as well as, Taylor – at least until the new administration selects the permanent commissioner.