Omnivore - Food Network more powerful than USDA in 2012

The Daily Meal forecasts food industry's key players in 2012


  • Composite image by Jane Bruce with iStock/fatihhoca

According to The Daily Meal's list of America's 50 Most Powerful People in Food for 2012, Brooke Johnson, the president of Food Network, has more pull than U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary, Thomas Vilsack. The rest of the top 10 include: Patricia Woertz, CEO of Archer Daniels Midland, Hugh Grant, CEO of Monsanto, Michelle Obama, Michael Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Foods for the USDA, Jim Skinner, CEO of McDonald’s, Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo., Mike Duke, President and CEO of Walmart, and Jeremy Stoppelman, Co-Founder and CEO of Yelp.

The 2012 top 50 list includes powerful agribusiness moguls, consumer advocates, key figures in governmental agencies, media stars, chefs, restaurateurs, and, finally, journalists. They are the people who, in our world of food, are poised in positions to get shit done in America; and for better or for worse, make change a reality. According to Colman Andrews, editor of The Daily Meal, "Our ultimate criterion was simply this: Is each person on our list capable, whether by dint of corporate station, media access, moral authority, or sheer personality, of substantially changing, improving, and/or degrading the quality and variety of the American diet or the way we think about it?"

So what does it all mean? Where are we going? What kind of changes will be imposed on consumers in the new year? With corporations like Walmart, Monsanto, McDonald's, and Pepsi running the show, are we, the eaters of America, doomed in 2012?