Not an endorsement? (Updated)

Health, Nutrition March 15, 2015

Last week, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics announced a partnership between Kraft and Kids Eat Right. Specifically that the Kids Eat Right logo will now appear on packages of Kraft American Singles.

The Academy has fully denied that this is an endorsement of a product, even though Kraft told The New York Times that it totally is. According to AND, the logo simply shows that Kraft is a proud supporter of Kids Eat Right.

Huh.

I wonder how much money it cost Kraft to be such a proud supporter. And I wonder who made that decision. Because all the dietitians I have talked to are steaming mad (and embarrassed) about this.

If anything, this shows how out of touch AND is with their membership. At a time when many members are questioning the entire process of corporate sponsorship, they surprise 75,000 dietitians with a partnership with Kraft Singles?

Whether or not AND calls this an endorsement of a product, the public seems to see it as one. I posed these questions on Facebook, both on my private account and on my blog page:

Asking an honest question here for my non-dietitian readers. Please answer below.

If you saw this label at the grocery store for Kraft American Cheese Singles, what would it mean to you? What is your first impression?

Kraft Singles and Kids Eat Right - A horrible decision

Here’s what some of my readers said:

JUST by looking at the label ONLY it appears this would be a good choice.

If I didn’t know better, I would assume that it’s a nutritious food for my kids. Sadly, the average consumer looks at these statements on a package as a guide. They believe they can trust these endorsements and advertisements.

Advertising to trick people into thinking that this “cheese” is a healthy choice.

First impression, especially with my marketing background, is that this is for some reason considered to be a healthy choice for kids.

I’m not a mom but this says “This is a healthy choice!” to me.

If I didn’t know it was crap cheese I’d probably buy a ton of it and feed it to my family.

I am absolutely certain my parents would specifically buy this brand for when the kids come over thinking it is healthier than the other sliced cheese that don’t have the “kids eat right” on them.

So here’s the point. Endorsement or not, perception is reality. And most people will perceive this as an endorsement or a “healthier choice” product.

To be honest, I hope this is the tipping point for the Academy. I have never seen so many dietitians unified in voice over one issue.

If you are a dietitian, or a dietetics student, please make your voice heard. NOW IS THE TIME. 

Click here to find out how you can contact your local delegate.

Click here for a sample letter you can personalize and send. 

Copy and past this on Twitter: As an RD, I’m appalled with the @eatrightkids label on @kraftsfoods Singles, endorsement or not. #RDchat #cheesyfacts

Follow Dietitians for Professional Integrity on Facebook for the latest news and calls to action.

What do you think about this endorsement partnership?

*****

UPDATE:

There is now a Change.org petition you can sign. Click below to sign and share. You do not have to be an RD to sign!

Repeal The Seal - Petition to repeal the Kids Eat Right Logo from Kraft Singles

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  • Hannah March 15, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    Well, this post has definitely achieved your mission of inspiring, because that is exactly what it has done for me!! To be honest, I was appalled when I read the Academy’s email newsletters could no longer include the “RD’s in the media” (which was my favorite section!), but then they include an NYT article on how Oreo came out with a red velvet flavor for Valentine’s Day… (Seriously, I wish I was making that up…) I thought, “Really?! You can’t promote your own members who are being advocates for healthy lifestyles and the profession, but you CAN promote Oreo?!?” I frequently hear complaints about how RD’s and the Academy seem to promote companies and brands that may be a conflict of interest, and for that reason people are beginning not to trust those who have these credentials. Now with this, we have some SERIOUS PR work to be done to reestablish the trust of our members AND the public!

  • Rebecca P. March 16, 2015 at 5:02 am

    I was disgusted by this. It is so ridiculous and frustrating. Our food system, government, big food crop, manipulation is so messed up!

  • Debra Riedesel March 16, 2015 at 6:03 am

    Thank you for your inspiring post Alysa, I’m hoping more RDs start to wake-up to what the Academy has done, and is doing to the detriment of our credential. When I first heard about the EatRight Kids program, I briefly considered volunteering. Having spent the first half of my career in advertising, I quickly changed my mind, as I discovered it looked to be nothing more than a vehicle to market sponsors processed foods to parents and children. I was appalled when one of their PDFs contained the Coca-Cola logo as the sponsor. Yes, unbelievable. So, now the bonehead leadership thinks having the KidsEatRight logo on processed cheese food is such a great thing to advance RDs as the nutrition experts? I continue to shake my head and wonder what the hell are they thinking?

    • InspiredRD March 22, 2015 at 3:16 pm

      The response so far has given me more hope than ever before.

  • Jess @ Floptimism March 16, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    Thank you for writing this. I know I can always count on your blog to highlight these issues. I sent my HOD delegates an email, signed the petition and shared it on social media, and will be tweeting out the message tomorrow when it will likely gain more traction.

    Every time the Academy does something like this, it makes me want to sever my ties with them altogether. It takes all of my convincing to remind myself that the only way to change an organization is to stand your ground in the very center of it.

    • InspiredRD March 22, 2015 at 3:15 pm

      Thanks Jess. I’m glad you’re taking action.

  • Rachel April 4, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    It seems to me that people need to take responsibility for what’s in the food they eat. The label is a hoax. But should we be relying in the few words on a label to make decisions for us about what we eat? Just because a label says it’s good, doesn’t mean it is. Shouldn’t we know this by now? The bigger concern should be that people are dependent on advertising to guide them toward good choices? When has this EVER been a wise strategy for life? Advertising should first make us suspicious, if anything.

    • InspiredRD April 8, 2015 at 12:13 pm

      Yes, personal responsibility is key. But so is the responsibility of healthcare providers to the public. Don’t you agree?