The Dannon Company funds Dannon Next Generation Nutrition Grants, which in turn funds nonprofit organizations that provide community-based childhood nutrition education programs. To date, Dannon has awarded over $580,000 in grants to programs that help children develop life-long habits for good nutrition and exercise. But since Dannon is a trade name, this program would be affected by the FTC guidelines.
Campbell Soup Company’s Pepperidge Farm brand has developed Fishful Thinking, a program that provides parents resources to help their children develop emotional well-being. The Fishful Thinking Internet website provides tips for parents to help keep their kids active. Because the website features animated characters and images of product packaging, it could fall under the FTC’s definition of marketing.
Kellogg Company provides monetary grants to Action for Healthy Kids, a program that provides resources and assistance to foster participation in school breakfast programs in an effort to help combat childhood obesity. The program likely falls under the FTC’s definition of in-school or philanthropic marketing activities, which cover the use of trade names.
Sara Lee Corporation funds the Sara Lee Foundation, which in turn supports the Chicago-based Robert Crown Center for Education’s FIT Curriculum, a leading innovator of ideas and projects for nutrition education, including physical activities to help attain energy balance. The FIT Curriculum is distributed in classrooms and on the Internet. Because the Internet site features an animated character and the Sara Lee Foundation logo, it likely falls under the FTC’s definition of Internet marketing.
Ronald McDonald House Charities has provided a “home away from home” for the parents and families of hospitalized children since 1974. In addition, Ronald McDonald Care Mobiles operate in vulnerable communities to provide cost-effective, high-quality medical, dental, and health education services to thousands of children. McDonald’s raises money for this charity by way of food-related promotions. These promotions would be prohibited unless the company’s food met the IWG’s nutritional criteria.As these examples reveal, the FTC’s proposed marketing definitions are extraordinarily broad, such that many philanthropic activities sponsored by food and beverage companies or their brands would be significantly curtailed and, in some cases, eliminated. But these guidelines are also highly counterproductive to the cause of children’s health, since they would hurt funding for the very philanthropies and initiatives that are designed to improve children’s health and well-being. Many industry leaders and policy analysis have noted that the cost of acquiescing to the FTC’s proposal would be measured in the billions of dollars. But any cost/benefit analysis of the impact of these guidelines must also include the very real threat posed to philanthropy. If measured through the eyes of the countless children these charitable initiatives help, the cost is immeasurable.