Fundraising is a tough business. How many times have you screened or hung-up on a telemarketer? Thrown away the mailer requesting a donation? Or deleted the email from your favorite non-profit? And do you ever feel like when you finally make that donation, you’re quickly “thanked” by a barrage of requests asking for more?
That’s why raising money with food is so wonderful. The thought process goes like this: “I buy a food item, and the food manufacturer makes a donation to a cause I care about.” Everybody wins, right? Well, not really. And there’s no better reminder of that than in October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
I’ve preached about the perils of cause marketing before (here’s a link to my February 2012 post, Cause Marketing: Honest Help or Another Ploy to Sell More), but when a reader of mine emailed me the following, I thought it was worth another post. Here’s what my reader had to say:
One thing that pisses me off every October is the ubiquitous “cause marketing” for Breast Cancer Awareness month … when supermarkets and bake sales are overrun with artificially-colored (every nauseating shade of pink), factory-baked, preservative-laden cupcakes, cookies, candy and the like, all in the name of “raising awareness” and … alleged fundraising. The juxtaposition of junk food and “saving lives” utterly astounds me.
I couldn’t agree with you more, Norma. While there are a whole host of established risk factors for breast cancer, eating unhealthy food “is thought to be partly responsible for about 30% to 40% of all cancers.” [Breastcancer.org, 9/12/12, “Eating Unhealthy Food”] According to the Breastcancer.org website, the basic dietary recommendations for eating healthy and trying to minimize your risk of getting cancer are:
- Eat a more plant-based diet
- Limit your fat intake
- Mix up your protein options
- Add healthy choices to your diet
With that directive in mind, I decided to stroll down the aisles of my local Wal-Mart to see how well breast cancer organizations adhered to these guidelines when choosing breast cancer sponsors to sign onto their cause. Here are some of the more interesting products I found “dressed in pink.”
To be honest, I knew I’d find some problems, but even I’m surprised. These products are littered with trans fats, tons of sugar, empty calories, and even suspected cancer-causing ingredients. Is this crazy? What do you think? Which products above violate your trust and sensibilities? Have you seen other products in stores that are also surprising? And who should we hold accountable? Big Food manufacturers or the non-profit organizations? Or do you think this practice is totally okay since “the end justify the means”?
Please, let us know what you think. While I certainly have my opinion, I want to hear your thoughts so just click open the comments below and share your opinion! Together, we can help change the conversation about food by taking a stand for real food, demanding complete transparency about what’s in our food, and putting an end to misleading advertising and promotion tactics from Big Food.
And if you’re looking to take action on this issue, fellow blogger Kristi Marsh from Chose Wiser shared with me an organization that may help you do just that. Think Before You Pink is “a project of Breast Cancer Action, launched in 2002 in response to the growing concern about the number of pink ribbon products on the market. The campaign calls for more transparency and accountability by companies that take part in breast cancer fundraising, and encourages consumers to ask critical questions about pink ribbon promotions.”
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