Look, we’re trying to get into the holiday spirit, we really are. But it’s hard. When the EPA decides the P in its acronym means poison, we get discouraged. And then there’s this from our friends at Pinnacle Foods.
Birds Eye® is on a mission to inspire a love of vegetables – and it all starts with kids. To help encourage the next generation to discover their passion for vegetables, Birds Eye is launching the “Feed Kids Better” initiative to benefit Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry CampaignTM.
So why am I complaining? It’s this—the initiative consists of getting kids to “like” Birds Eye vegetables on Facebook. And then the company donates to Share Our Strength and you get a coupon. That’s a lot of promotion for a corporate donation not to exceed 50k. And in terms of encouraging vegetable consumption, I’d have to call this a feeble effort. They’re not asking kids to grow vegetables, eat vegetables, or even touch vegetables. They don’t even have to know what a vegetable looks like—they just need to find a Facebook page and click a button.
Elsewhere in the trademark-and-copyright-symbol-laden press release I found this: Frozen vegetables can be easily steamed in the microwave for young cooks. Now there’s a 21st century word association—frozen, microwave, and cook.
Recent studies—prompted by our country’s frightening problem with child obesity—have shown that the closer a child’s relation with the growing of food, the healthier her eating habits will be. In other words, if you want a kid to like vegetables, teach him or her how to grow one. Even the tiniest kitchen garden does the job of teaching kids where their food comes from. And the kids who have had this experience are more likely to have healthier diets. Hence all the programs that Michelle Obama and others are initiating and that we have reported on here. And we have evidence closer at hand—our own Michele’s pictures of her beautiful, healthy kids working in their vegetable gardens. I’m guessing they didn’t get that way through liking corporations on Facebook.
I have nothing against frozen vegetables—in fact, I rely on frozen peas for first aid as well as for sprinkling into the paella. But this initiative is about branding for brandings sake. It scarcely matters what the product is. It’s certainly got nothing to do with healthy eating.