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As she continues the press tour for her recently released book, "Hard Choices," former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Chicago this week to deliver the keynote speech at FMI Connect, being held June 10–13.
In her presentation, she spoke about the many difficulties the nation faces, in particular with regard to making nutritious food choices, paying attention to overall health concerns and reducing childhood obesity.
Clinton lauded the United Fresh Produce Association's "Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools" initiative, which has expanded substantially healthy food options for students in participating schools. She also made note of the Clinton Foundation, the efforts of which have reduced calories in the drinks and vending machines at school cafeterias, pointing to the overall reduction in childhood obesity nationwide as a result.
Clinton applauded the food industry's efforts to improve the standard of living in the United States, but also noted how far the country still has to go. "We can create more jobs; we can reward good work with higher wages," she said.
Describing food as the "oldest diplomatic tool," Clinton also made note of the importance of trends within domestic food manufacturing, and how America's efforts create a ripple effect globally, and vice versa. "A collapsing economy in Athens, Greece, can change the bottom line for businesses in Athens, Georgia," she said, noting that enhancements in food manufacturing and agriculture can have positive, long-term effects on countries abroad.
Following her presentation, Clinton sat down with Wonderful Brands' Stewart Resnick for a brief Q&A, in which they spoke about her experience and accomplishments as secretary of state, and potential bid for president in 2016.
"If I decide to, I'll let you be the first to know," she said.
FMI’s U.S. members operate nearly 40,000 retail food stores and 25,000 pharmacies, representing a combined annual sales volume of almost $770 billion.