PepsiCo is one of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ most prominent partners. Dondeena Bradley, PhD, Vice President of Global Nutrition for PepsiCo is quoted on the Academy website as saying:
“PepsiCo believes we have a responsibility to ensure the health and wellness of the communities we serve. We rely upon the expertise and commitment of ADA members to provide unique insight into the health and nutritional challenges people face every day.”
Corporate spin at its finest.
For a reality check, we point you to this article by public health attorney Michele Simon published in the City University of New York Law Review journal.
Simon summarizes the article thusly:
“PepsiCo utilizes an array of public relations maneuvers to convince Americans to keep buying its products, despite copious health advice to the contrary. Moreover, PepsiCo engages in lobbying and other underhanded behavior that defy its self-proclaimed “Performance with Purpose” image. These tactics include:
1) Describing questionable products such as baked chips and diet soda as “better for you” while attempting to engineer healthier junk food with such novelties as “drinkable oats.”
2) Exploiting an increasing desire for local food with “farmwashing” ad campaigns for potato chips.
3) Hiring respected public health experts and medical doctors to represent the company, creating an illusion of having a health-oriented mission, instead of being driven by profit.
4) Continuing to market its unhealthy products to children, despite numerous promises to the contrary, and lobbying to undermine federal policy aimed at reducing junk food marketing to kids.
5) Inserting its self-serving public relations message into a respected annual scientific report funded by top health foundations.
Buying off nonprofits by engaging in a host of philanthropic efforts such as its ubiquitous Pepsi Refresh program, all in the name of moving more products.
Throughout the article, I show how PepsiCo uses deliberately vague language in its annual report and other documents in which the company claims to be a responsible corporate citizen, thereby making evaluating such claims impossible. We cannot trust PepsiCo or any other food company to “do the right thing” when it comes to fixing the mess they got us into in the first place.”
It would certainly be refreshing if the Academy stood up to PepsiCo’s attempts to co-opt Registered Dietitians and told them: “Not on our watch!”.