These are all preventable diseases, yet, people of color remain underrepresented in the wellness space.
“My sense is not that it has been an intentional exclusion, it just hasn't been intentional inclusion. And I think it has to be in order to truly make a change. I think it has to be intentional and I think it has to be more of a priority,” said Marc Washington, CEO of Muniq, one of the few nutrition brands highlighting diversity.
Muniq, which focuses on gut health, was inspired by Washington’s sister, Monica, who struggled with obesity, diabetes and hypertension — conditions that disproportionately impact people of color.
“It’s fascinating to me that even within our space, we haven't overcome the age-old traditions of breaking through the diversity barriers that impact so many other industries because there's such a pervasive need of our products for so many, in particular multicultural communities. I think that also speaks just the opportunity, the fact that there's such a need for us within this industry to continue to be thinking from a diversity, from a representational, from an inclusion standpoint, so that we can impact and help those who need it the most,” he said.
Washington said he is encouraged by the conversations within the industry and the expressed intent to move in a more diverse and representative way.
“One of the nice things especially as of late, especially with the social justice movements in 2020, there's been more conversations and eyes on being open to the fact that there is a lack of diversity in this industry ...You actually have to go about being intentional, prioritizing, taking actions to make changes against it and I would say we're in the very early Innings of making those fundamental shifts,” said Washington. “If not top of mind and if diversity is not a priority, then there's no motivation or nothing that's going to change kind of the pattern.”
To hear the full conversation on Washington’s experience as one of the few African American men in the nutrition space and his advice for other people of color in the industry, listen to the NutraCast.
NutraCast is a podcast that focuses on insights from inside the nutrition industry. It is a production by NutraIngredients-USA. Music by Kevin Macleod.