Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Walmart Hypocrisy: Hunger Campaign that Doesn't Address Real Hunger

The hypocrisy and cynical irony are almost too rich for words. Extreme, ethics-free capitalism at its finest... 

Hunger is defined as "... the physical sensation of desiring food. When politicians, relief workers and social scientists talk about people suffering from hunger, they usually refer to those who are unable to eat sufficient food to meet their basic nutritional needs for sustained periods of time." on Wikipedia

With this ad late last month, Walmart urged Americans to join in "fighting hunger together" by buying products in its store, made by the leading fake food mega-corporations:
  • General Mills
  • Kraft Foods
  • Unilever
  • Kellogg's
  • Con Agra Foods
  • Nestle
  • Pepsico
  • Campbell's
  • Dr Pepper/Snapple Group
  • Mondelez International (formerly Kraft Foods Inc.)
"In 2010, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation made a historic $2 billion commitment to fight hunger in America through cash and in-kind donations. The Fighting Hunger Together leverages Walmart and the Walmart Foundation’s size and scale to provide nutritious food and funding to nonprofits that are committed to finding solutions for this important issue."
This clever ad campaign leaves the clear impression that Walmart and its fake-food corporate suppliers are fighting hunger.  Truth is that nowhere does Walmart state that it or its partners "are committed to finding solutions for this important issue."     

Instead, Walmart appears to promise to donate a tiny portion of cash (see the list of nonprofits here) from sales to Americans of highly-processed fake foods  manufactured by its "partners" including:

  • Kellogg's Froot Loops
  • Skippy peanut butter
  • Banquet chicken nuggets
  • Kraft 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese, canned
  • Nature Valley granola thins
  • Honey Nut Cheerios
"In-kind donations" by Walmart and its mega-corporate food suppliers means that a majority of their joint "$2 Billion commitment" will be their own fake food products... Froot Loops, Skippy peanut butter, Banquet chicken nuggets, canned Kraft cheese, Nature Valley bars, Honey Nut Cheerios, and the like... to food banks, charities, and soup kitchens serving the hungry in their communities.  

If hungry Americans dine mainly on fake-food product donations, then, by definition, they will remain hungry, as Froot Loops, Skippy peanut butter, Banquet chicken nuggets, canned Kraft cheese, Honey Nut Cheerios, and all other highly processed foods do not meet their basic nutritional needs for sustained periods of time. Not by a long shot... 

Such processed fake foods are chock full of fat, salt, and sugar, as well as chemicals, additives, fillers, emulsifiers, artificial  colors and flavors, and much more. . 

Walmart's "fighting hunger together" campaign is sheer gimmickry genius in that it equates Walmart with fighting hunger, yet requires nearly no sacrifice of one the world's largest corporations beyond increasing sales of its products.  And Walmart gets humanitarian brownie-points by donating products approaching "must sell" dates or the end of shelf life... 

Indeed, a fine example of ethics-free capitalism.  Problem is... the hungry are still hungry! 

1 comment:

  1. Great post. Sadly, as long as our USDA/HHS Dietary Guidelines continue recommend that Americans avoid whole, nutritious foods like meat and eggs in favor of cereal and grain products (whole grain! fortified and enriched!) the hungry in America will continue to be given foods that leave them hungry. I appreciate your focus on problems in the food industry, but the USDA/HHS Dietary Guidelines are the ones who have given industry the permission to call those foods in the Wal-Mart ad "healthy," while eggs are still to be limited or avoided altogether.