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The Daily Meal: America’s 50 most powerful people in food

  • guy_fieri.jpg

    Chef–restaurateur and TV personality Guy FieriAP

  • puck_collicico.jpg

    Wofgang Puck and Tom ColicchioAP

  • IndraNooyi_Pepsi.jpg

    PepsiCo CEO Indra NooyiREUTERS

The Daily Meal has released its third annual list of America’s 50 most powerful people in food, and the ranking may surprise you.  

According to The Daily Meal, it was clear from the beginning that CEOs could be more powerful than the best-know culinary celebrities. The people who wield the power in the food world are those who actually--or could potentially—affect where, what, why and how we eat. While you will still find Guy Fieri, Anthony Bourdain and Mario Batali on the list, they don’t crack the top 24.

How do you come to the conclusion that Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke has more influence than The New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells?

“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?” Colman Andrews, the editor of The Daily Meal, writes.  “If so, how absolute is the power he or she can bring to bear?”

Check out the list below. Also, do not confuse the food world’s second most powerful person with the actor with the same name.

50. The Family Farmer

49. Deb Perelman, Author

48. Bill Marler, Foodborne Illness Lawyer and Attorney

47. Michael Pollan, Author

46. Ingrid Newkirk, President and Co-Founder, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

45. John T. Edge, Author and Director, Southern Foodways Alliance

44. Danny Meyer, Restaurateur

43. Guy Fieri, Chef–Restaurateur and TV Personality

42. Susan Ungaro, President, James Beard Foundation

41. Tom Colicchio, Chef-Restaurateur and TV Personality

40. Thomas Keller, Chef-Restaurateur

39. Mark Bittman, Journalist and Author

38. Catherine Cassidy, Vice President and Editor-in-Chief, Taste of Home

37. Fred DeLuca, Co-Founder and President, Subway

36. Wolfgang Puck, Chef–Restaurateur

35. Bill Shore, Founder and CEO, Share Our Strength

34. Grant Achatz, Chef–Restaurateur

33. Anthony Bourdain, Author and TV Personality

32. Dana Cowin, Editor-in-Chief, Food & Wine

31. Dawn Sweeney, President and CEO, National Restaurant Association

30. Alice Waters, Chef-Restaurateur and Founder and Director, The Edible Schoolyard Project

29. Bob Aiken, President and CEO, Feeding America

28. Julie Packard, Executive Director and Vice-Chairman, Monterey Bay Aquarium

27. David A. DeLorenzo, President and CEO, Dole Food Company

26. Dan Bane, Chairman and CEO, Trader Joe's

25. Mario Batali, Chef–Restaurateur and TV Personality

24. Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States

23. John Mackey, Founder and Co-CEO, Whole Foods Market

22. Jeremy Stoppelman, Co-Founder and CEO, Yelp

21. David Dillon, Chairman and CEO, The Kroger Co.

20. Kevin Systrom, Co-Founder and CEO, Instagram

19. James P. Hoffa, General President, International Brotherhood of Teamsters

18. José Andrés, Chef-Restaurateur

17. Steve Spinner, CEO, President, and Director, United Natural Foods, Inc.

16.  Paul Grimwood, CEO and Chairman, Nestlé USA

15. David Kirchhoff, President, Weight Watchers International

14. Pete Wells, Restaurant Critic, The New York Times

13. Craig Jelinek, CEO, Costco

12. Bob Tuschman, General Manager and Senior Vice President, Food Network

11. Donnie Smith, President and CEO, Tyson Foods

10. Thomas Vilsack, Secretary, USDA

9. Gregory Page Chairman and CEO, Cargill

8. Ben Silbermann, Founder and CEO, Pinterest

7. Donald Thompson, Vice Chairman and CEO, McDonalds

6. Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO, Pepsi

5. Mike Duke, President and CEO, Walmart

4. Patricia Woertz, Chairman, President, and CEO, Archer Daniels Midland

3. Michael R. Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Food, Federal Drug Administration

2. Hugh Grant, Chairman, President, and CEO, The Monsanto Company

1. Jack Menzel, Product Managing Director, and Bernardo Hernandez, Director of Product Management and Managing Director for Zagat, and their teams, Google